President Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general plans to tell the Senate this week that it is “vitally important” that special counsel Robert Mueller be able to finish his Russia investigation.
William Barr, whose confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee begins on Tuesday, will also assert that it is “very important” that as much of Mueller’s Russia findings as possible be made public.
“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,” Barr plans to say, according to the Associated Press, which obtained an advance copy of his prepared remarks.
Barr, who served as attorney general under George H.W. Bush, has come under scrutiny from Democrats who claim that the nominee’s past remarks about the Mueller probe are disqualifying.
Barr sent a memo to the Justice Department in June 2018 asserting that Mueller’s investigation into possible obstruction of justice on Trump’s part was out of bounds. Mueller has reportedly been investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government as well as possible obstruction by Trump over the firing of James Comey as FBI director.
Barr will note that his memo to the Justice Department did not address the core focus of Mueller’s investigation.
“The memo did not address – or in any way question – the Special Counsel’s core investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election,” Barr will say, according to the AP.
Mueller has reportedly been working for months on a final report laying out the findings of his investigation, which began May 17, 2017. NBC News has reported that the former FBI director, who is close friends with Barr, could submit his report to DOJ by the middle of February. (RELATED: Report: Mueller Could Submit Final Report By Mid February)
The Justice Department will then be able to provide the report to Congress and possibly the public. Democratic lawmakers have already said that they plan to subpoena Mueller’s report if the DOJ withholds the document or if the White House attempts to invoke executive privilege.
But Barr will suggest that he plans to avoid a standoff with Congress.
“My goal will be to provide as much transparency as I can consistent with the law,” Barr plans to say. “I can assure you that, where judgments are to be made by me, I will make those judgments based solely on the law and will let no personal, political, or other improper interests influence my decisions.”
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