William Barr, Attorney General Nominee, Gets Nod From Key Senate Committee

Senate panel votes to advance nomination of William Barr, Trump's pick to be the next attorney general

A confirmation vote on Barr is expected some time this month.

But Democrats said Thursday that Barr's comments did not go far enough to reassure them.

Making a clear commitment to releasing the special counsel's findings, said Vermont Sen.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the Judiciary Committee's highest-ranking Democrat, said Thursday she felt the document was "disqualifying" for Barr.

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Several other Republican lawmakers, in deciding to cast their votes for Barr, said he should release the special counsel findings to the fullest extent, while protecting national security secrets. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who sets the floor schedule, tweeted Thursday that Barr "has the experience and is eminently qualified" and he expects he will be confirmed next week.

Barr's nomination is being closely watched - and came under scrutiny at the committee level - in part because the Justice Department oversees the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into the 2016 Russian election interference.

A practicing Catholic and a member of the Knights of Columbus, Barr said in his confirmation hearings that he did not believe his faith would hinder his ability to serve as an effective attorney general. Barr has said he will be as transparent as possible under Justice Department regulations, but many Democrats are skeptical.

Lindsey Graham, the committee's new chairman, had urged his colleagues to confirm Barr and allow him to take the helm of the Justice Department, which has been led on a temporary basis by acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker since then-attorney general Jeff Sessions was ousted in November.

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A year ago he sent an unsolicited legal opinion to the Justice Department and White House arguing that Mueller had no grounds to investigate Trump for obstruction of justice based on the firing of Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey in May 2017.

"At a time when our shared principles of equal protection and civil rights for all are under assault, we need an Attorney General who will rise to the challenge of defending them".

Sen. Dick Durbin of IL, meanwhile, said in meeting with Barr, he thought Barr was a "good person" who reminded him of former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

The top Democrat on the Judiciary panel, California Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, said Thursday.

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