Trump’s attorney general nominee vows to shield Russia probe from politics

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"As we open our front door, and try to admit people in an orderly way, we can not allow others to flout our legal system by crashing in through the back door", Barr said.

Barr, an attorney general under former President George H.W. Bush, also a Republican, will address his prior criticism of Mueller's probe, telling members of the committee that a memo he sent a year ago that called the investigation "fatally misconceived" only outlined his concerns that Mueller might be misinterpreting one aspect of the law.

Whitehouse's letter zeroes in on an unsolicited June 8, 2018 memorandum that Barr sent to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, whose anticipated departure has only heightened Democratic concerns about Barr's appointment.

Mueller is investigating Russia's interference in the 2016 US presidential election, possible collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign and potential obstruction of justice. Mueller headed the department's criminal division while Barr served as attorney general from 1991 to 1993.

Barr's comments on immigration show similar thinking to Sessions, who had a hardline immigration policy.

Barr's supervisory role in the Russian Federation probe may be especially important since Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller and has overseen his day-to-day work, expects to leave the Justice Department soon after Barr is confirmed. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), includes several prominent Democrats, including a few who are expected to seek the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Mueller has reportedly been working for months on a final report laying out the findings of his investigation, which began May 17, 2017. And it all comes amid an ongoing partial government shutdown, which has left much of the Justice Department Barr hopes to head furloughed or working without pay. With the party's 53 seats in the Senate, four Republicans would have to join all Democrats to block him.

Canadian Robert Schellenberg Sentenced To Death In China In Drug-Smuggling Case
Prosecutors brought in Xu as a witness, who in close to two hours of testimony never once turned to look at Schellenberg. China has since detained two Canadian nationals , accusing them of endangering national security.

Moreover, Barr said, he was not serving as a sock puppet for the administration or anyone else to surface someone else's counterarguments against Mueller or the Justice Department.

"The country needs a credible resolution of these issues", Mr. Barr said, according to remarks released ahead of the hearing. She said senior ethics officials were consulted about the memo and have advised that it presents no conflict of interest to Barr's work as attorney general.

Barr would replace acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, who declined to recuse himself from the investigation over past critical comments on it - despite calls from Democrats and the advice of a Justice Department ethics official.

The echoes from that era have prompted questions about whether Barr may support another controversial pardon or pardons involving people in the Russian Federation matter.

"For that reason, my goal will be to provide as much transparency as I can consistent with the law, " Barr said. "I will follow the Special Counsel regulations scrupulously and in good faith, and on my watch, Bob will be allowed to complete his work".

The longtime attorney noted that he "did not pursue this position" and that, at first, he was "reluctant to be considered" because he had held the job before and was looking forward "a peaceful and cherished time with our daughters and granddaughters". He'll say that he and his wife were looking forward to spending time with their family, note that he'd already had the gig before, and say he ultimately chose to accept the nomination because he believed in public service.

House Democrats said last week they are prepared to subpoena Whitaker if he doesn't agree to testify before a judiciary committee by January 29.

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