William Barr, Trump's Pick For DOJ, Ran 'HIV Camps' At Guantanamo

Attorney general nominee William Barr visited Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office Thursday

Erin Schaff The New York Times Attorney general nominee William Barr visited Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office Thursday

Consumed by the partial government shutdown, Trump remained out of sight at the White House but also kept an eye on the news coverage of the hearing and told aides he was pleased with how Barr was handling himself, said two White House officials and a Republican close to the White House who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss internal conversations.

Democrats worry that Trump's administration may try to undercut the investigation, which has been a frequent target of the president and his allies. He said he did not seek out the job and was reluctant to accept when Trump offered it to him.

Democrats - and perhaps Republicans - are sure to have questions about Barr's approach to Mueller, especially since Barr has been critical of the Mueller probe in the past. Russian Federation has denied United States intelligence agencies' findings that it interfered in the 2016 election. "After Mr. Trump offered him the job, Mr. Barr briefly told the president that he had written a memo about aspects of the Russian Federation probe that could spur questions during his confirmation hearing, according to a person familiar with the process", the Journal reported. He made this claim even though, as he admitted, that the majority of drugs coming into the country come through ports of entry.

Mr Barr faced questions from Democrats about an unsolicited memo he wrote past year that called Mr Mueller's probe "fatally misconceived" for examining whether Mr Trump obstructed justice by firing Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey in 2017.

"It does raise questions about your willingness to reach conclusions before knowing the facts, and whether you prejudge the Mueller investigation", said Senator Dianne Feinstein, the Judiciary Committee's top Democrat.

In his written testimony, Barr told senators that his memo had been "narrow in scope" and that it addressed only "a specific obstruction-of-justice theory under a single statute that I thought, based on media reports, the Special Counsel might be considering".

"I'd have to think about that". He said there were other instances in which he had given advice to the Justice Department, such as cautioning against a prosecution of Democratic Senator Robert Menendez. Trump's own pick for the post of US attorney general and a long-time friend of Mueller's vowed today in a US Senate grilling that he "will not be bullied" by his political masters in the White House. For much of 2018, Trump made no secret of his displeasure with Jeff Sessions for his decision to recuse himself from the Mueller investigation.

"Right now, I couldn't do it", Barr replied. Trump has expressed sympathy for Manafort and complained before Manafort's guilty plea that the Justice Department "applied tremendous pressure on him".

Barr also spoke in favour of numerous hardline immigration policies ushered in by the Trump administration.

He also said he believed in the use of border walls, saying: "We need money right now for border security, including walls and barriers".

William Barr was speaking during a nine-hour Senate confirmation hearing, surprising many by voicing views that did not always align with those of the U.S. president. Sessions sued California over the policies.

Klobuchar asked Barr whether he'd consider it obstruction of justice if a president told a witness not to cooperate with an investigation, or drafted a misleading statement to obscure the goal of a meeting. After Barr introduced members of his family, many of whom have sought legal careers in public service, Graham jokingly implored Barr's grandson Liam to "consider medical school", because "someone in your family needs to make money".

The nominee also said he favours strong enforcement of USA antitrust laws and would examine statistics showing that scrutiny of mergers is at historic lows. I couldn't say that yet.

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