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Senate Confirms William Barr as Next AG update

2019-02-14 19:24
The Senate approved President Donald Trump’s attorney general nominee William Barr on Feb. 14, putting the veteran Republican lawyer in charge of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of any ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia. The Senate voted 54 to 45, largely along party lines. He could be sworn into the post before week's end. Previously attorney general from 1991 to 1993 under President George H.W. Bush, Barr has won praise from lawmakers in both parties for his expertise and grasp of the workings of the Justice Department, which he would head. He would be the third man in barely two years to occupy that post, replacing acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, who replaced Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Trump ousted Sessions last November after criticizing him repeatedly. Mueller is investigating the possible meddling by Russia in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and whether Moscow colluded with Trump's campaign to try to tilt the election in Trump's direction, as well as possible obstruction of justice. Trump denies any collusion. The Kremlin denies any meddling. Before being nominated, Barr wrote a 19-page legal memo that he shared with Trump's legal team and Justice Department officials. It called Mueller's probe "fatally flawed." Barr has said he will protect the integrity of Mueller's investigation and make public as many of its findings as he can. Barr has not promised to release Mueller's report in its entirety. He has warned he may not be allowed to reveal the identities of people who escape prosecution. Barr is widely expected to back many of Trump's tough immigration policies. He will also be under the microscope for how he implements a new law that eases prison sentences for nonviolent criminals after he advocated for the opposite—a tough-on-crime approach for decades. By Sarah N. Lynch and Andy Sullivan