Attorney general nominee William Barr had his committee vote delayed by a week on Tuesday as part of his path toward confirmation.
The Senate Judiciary Committee had been planning to vote on whether to approve his nomination this morning.
But Democrats on the committee expressed concerns they haven’t had all their questions answered about his views — so Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), in response, moved to delay the vote.
“I’m very concerned about Mr. Barr’s memo of special counsel [Robert] Mueller’s investigation into obstruction of justice,” Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said.
“Mr. Barr wrote that 19-page memo defending the unitary executive. In his memo, he made clear that an all-powerful president can fire executive officials and direct prosecution.”
President Donald Trump nominated Barr to become his next attorney general on December 7. Special counsel Robert Mueller was in the midst of his ongoing investigation into whether the president or his associates colluded with any Russian interests during the campaign.
Barr was critical of the special counsel in his memo.
Barr originally sent the memo to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. He criticized the ongoing special counsel investigation against the president for focusing on the obstruction of justice charges. Critics are concerned his belief in strong executive powers threatened the ongoing investigation.
Trump has repeatedly accused the special counsel team of being a biased “witch hunt” against him. Barr stressed during his confirmation hearing that he would not allow partisan politics or personal interests to interfere with any investigation.
He also said he had confidence in the special counsel investigation — and would let it finish.
Barr has previous experience in the attorney general role, having served in that capacity for a few years under former President George H. W. Bush.
The Democrat-controlled Senate confirmed him at the time by a voice vote just 36 days after he was nominated.
Trump is bringing him out of retirement in an effort to replace Jeff Sessions.
The special counsel team has taken down a handful of former associates of the president since launching its investigation in May 2017.
But it has yet to connect the president himself to any collusion allegations — and much of the charges already issued are because of unrelated crime allegations.
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