Barr Won't Commit To Following Ethics Staff's Advice On Russia Probe Recusal

William Barr, who will oversee the Mueller probe if confirmed to the role, vowed to allow the investigation to be completed during a grilling by United States senators on Tuesday. "I believe it is in the best interest of everyone - the president, Congress, and, most importantly, the American people - that this matter be resolved by allowing the special counsel to complete his work".

"Under the regulations, I make the decision", Barr said emphatically. "I can assure you that, where judgments are to be made by me, I will make those judgments based exclusively on the law".

Barr could benefit from the fact that some Democrats view him as a better option than the man who took over the job after Trump forced out Jeff Sessions previous year, acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker. That is how it must be. I promise you: "We will protect the investigation, but we're relying on you to clean this place up", Graham said, referencing the Department of Justice.

"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.

Special counsel Robert Mueller (L) arrives at the U.S. Capitol for closed meeting with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee June 21, 2017 in Washington, DC.

Mr Barr, 68, said he was "good friends" with Robert Mueller and, when pushed on whether the long-awaited final report would be made public, said: "I am in favour of as much transparency as there can be consistent with the rules and the law". "However, tonight at least one so-called journalist from the hate-Trump media is trying to play down expectations while people are hyping up every second, every minute, every hour of every day about Trump and Russian Federation and about the Mueller report".

"I believe the Russians interfered or attempted to interfere with the election, and I think we have to get to the bottom of it", Barr said.

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He also previously said the president's firing of Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey was appropriate and that the Mueller prosecution team, criticized by Trump for including prosecutors who have contributed to Democrats, should have had more "balance".

Barr's views of presidential power could be important as prosecutors and Democrats in the House of Representatives, where they hold the majority, intensify investigations of Trump's personal business practices and his presidency.

"I will diligently enforce the False Claims Act", Barr told Republican Senator Charles Grassley, marking a reversal from prior comments he made in which he declared the law was an abomination and unconstitutional.

Barr - who refers to Mueller as "Bob" and describes their longtime friendship - can expect a host of questions from Democrats who have said they will press him under oath to commit to not shrinking Mueller's budget, limiting his authority or impairing his ability to seek subpoenas or bring charges. He said presidents can not be criminally investigated for actions they are permitted to take under the Constitution, such as firing officials who work for them, just because of a subjective determination that they may have had a corrupt state of mind.

Barr previously served as attorney general from 1991 to 1993, and his confirmation hearings almost 30 years ago went off largely without incident.

In his testimony, Barr said he has known Mueller professionally for 30 years and has confidence in his abilities.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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