COLLUSION COLLAPSE: President Trump Reacts to Senate Intel Chair's 'No Collusion' Comments

Frederick Owens
February 9, 2019

US President Donald Trump's nominee for attorney general Bill Barr, who would have control over the Russian Federation collusion probe, passed his first confirmation hurdle Thursday in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell moved to limit debate and cut off any filibuster threats against the Barr nomination Thursday, setting up votes as soon as the Senate finishes work on a bipartisan package of public lands bills. Democrats have raised concerns that he may limit the scope of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in USA elections.

His recusal effectively served as a buffer between Mueller and the White House - a barrier that will no longer exist once Barr is approved by the Senate, as early as next week.

In part, they say Barr left open possible loopholes in his commitment to airing Mueller's findings and a broad view of presidential power that might allow Trump to interfere in Mueller and other investigations into his campaign, family or associates.

Republicans said they were confident Barr would make as much of the report public as possible.

The committee voted along party lines.

Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Judiciary committee have said that Barr, the former attorney general under President George H.W. Bush, is qualified for the position.

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Barr has declined to offer a firm guarantee that he would release Mueller's report in its entirety - noting that the regulations governing Mueller's appointment do not call for that.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said that Barr, as attorney general, would have the authority to change policies that now might prohibit him from revealing information about Mueller's work and that his nomination must be considered in the context of the historic moment in which the Justice Department finds itself.

"I believe the memo is disqualifying", said Senator Dianne Feinstein, the committee's top Democrat.

"If the committee's driven based upon the facts that we have at hand, I have a very hard time understanding how you can come to two different conclusions", Burr said during the interview.

"I don't believe Mr. Mueller would be involved in a witch hunt", Barr said.

"I hope I'm wrong".

Barr pledged at his confirmation hearing to keep politics out of Justice Department decisions and said he would refuse an instruction from the president to fire Mueller absent good cause to do so.

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