Justice Department get its first confirmed chief since Sessions
William Barr has been voted in by the Senate as attorney general as the Justice Department get its first confirmed chief since President Trump removed Jeff Sessions last year.
Senators voted 54-45 for Barr’s nomination after he cleared the Judiciary Committee and a procedural vote without anything that might threaten GOP support for his appointment.
The only Republican who voted against Barr was Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.)
Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Doug Jones (Ala.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) broke with their party and voted Barr.
Democrats have 47 seats in the Senate, with Manchin, Jones and Sinema voting to advance Barr’s nomination earlier this week,
Barr, who served as attorney general under former President George H.W. Bush, returns to the department that is now at the center of federal Russia probe criticism.
According to The Hill: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, characterized Barr as an “outstanding” pick to lead the agency, which has been under the leadership of acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker since Sessions was ousted in November.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the former chairman and current member of the Judiciary panel, added that Barr would be “a straight shooter and an individual who is willing to engage in productive discussion with Congress.”
Democrats have raised concerns for weeks over Barr’s views on executive power and special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into the 2016 election.
As attorney general, Barr is set to take over oversight of the investigation, which is also reportedly examining whether Trump sought to obstruct justice by interfering in the probe.
Trump’s fight with former top law enforcement officials was brought back into the forefront on Thursday after former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe revealed that he opened a probe into whether Trump obstructed justice when he fired FBI Director James Comey in May 2017.
Last year we reported William Barr pledged that he will protect Robert Mueller’s report from being politicized if confirmed as AG, and may write the public version of it himself.
Barr vowed to protect the special counsel’s Russia probe from political interference but said he might write the public version of the investigation’s findings if he’s confirmed as attorney general, and not Mueller.