Tuesday President Trump’s Attorney General Nominee William Barr faced his first day before the Senate Judiciary Committee chaired by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (SC).
Much of the focus of Tuesday’s confirmation surrounded questions related to an unsolicited memo he sent to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, in which he discussed his feeling on President Trump being investigated for obstruction of justice.
Barr, who is likely to be confirmed seemed to go to great lengths to reassure Democrat members that he would not interfere with his friend “Bob” Mueller’s investigation and that he would attempt to make the Mueller report available to Congress and the public via the Department of Justice, maybe.
Graham asked Barr, specifically via CNBC News, if he believed Mueller would be involved in a “witch hunt against anybody?” To which Barr replied, “I don’t believe Mr. Mueller would be involved in a witch hunt.”
The CNBC News article also notes that when asked if he were to be confirmed if the Department of Justice would “jail reporters for doing their jobs,” Barr paused before stating, “I know there are guidelines in place. And I can conceive of situations where, as a last resort and where a news organization has run through a red flag or something like that, knows that they’re putting out stuff that will hurt the country — there could be a situation where someone could be held in contempt.”
As a reminder President Trump has often referred to the Mueller investigation as a “Witch Hunt,” and has labeled much of the news media as “Fake News,” and has went so far as to call the press the Enemy of the People.
For what it’s worth: Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) brought up an article that was posted by The New York Time’s in November of 2017, regarding President Trump’s intent to have Hillary Clinton investigated, journalist Peter Baker wrote at the time, that Barr expressed the opinion that there was more “basis for investigating the uranium deal, than any supposed collusion between Mr. Trump and Russia.”
Barr explained to Leahy, via the Washington Post, “I have no knowledge of Uranium One. I didn’t particularly think that was necessarily something that should be pursued aggressively. I was trying to make the point that there was a lot out there. I think all that stuff at the time was being looked at by [Utah U.S. Attorney John] Huber,” Barr added, “The point I was trying to make there was that whatever the standard is for launching an investigation, it should be dealt with evenhandedly.”
Huber was appointed by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate several issues surrounding Hillary Clinton, including the uranium one deal that occurred while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State.
Shortly after this exchange between Leahy and Barr, journalist Peter Baker posted Barr’s complete email from 2017 in order to clear up any confusion.