William Barr, the nominee for Attorney General, has said that he will allow the special counsel Robert Mueller to finish his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 US election, if confirmed. Barr said that he believes it’s in the best interest of everybody to ensure that the investigation continues to its natural conclusion.
Barr added that at the moment, the country needs a credible resolution to the Russian issue and the only way this can be realized is if indeed the Mueller probe is allowed to continue and finish as planned. The Trump nominee to lead the Justice Department also added that it’s very important for Congress and the public to be informed of what comes of this probe and all other works that the Special Counsel is doing. To this end, Barr is promising to provide transparency to this process adding that everything regarding the investigation will be done within the bounds of the law.
Barr is also expected to continue enforcing the four priorities at the Justice Department such as prosecuting hate crimes, fighting violent crimes, protecting the right to vote and the integrity of elections as well as enforcing and improving immigration laws. It won’t be the first time Barr will be heading the Justice Department if confirmed. He served as the Attorney General during the first Bush administration.
His comments though with regards to the Mueller probe have drawn sharp concern from various members of the public. At one time, Barr claimed that Trump’s firing of James Comey wouldn’t constitute an obstruction of justice adding that Mueller’s attempt to pursue this angle was “fatally misconceived.” Barr has also met with Senate Democrats already including Dianne Feinstein, a senior ranking democratic member at the Senate Judiciary Committee. The senator from California said that Barr assured her that he will not interfere with the Mueller probe. Feinstein did also note that she intends to ask Barr about his controversial viewpoints on the Mueller probe in public.
People familiar with Barr’s thinking say that he’s expected to explain that the comments he made with regards to the probe were very “narrow in scope.” Barr, if confirmed, will replace Jeff Sessions who left his position at the Justice Department shortly after the midterms. Session had come under fire from Trump when he recused himself from the Mueller probe. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has overseen the investigation ever since. There are reports indicating that Rosenstein will leave his position too as soon as the new Attorney General is confirmed. Rosenstein had maintained that he would only leave the Justice Department if he felt the Mueller probe had concluded or was near its conclusion. Many analysts believe that his decision to leave now could signal the end of this probe.
The special counsel has been conducting an investigation into possible collusion between Trump and Russia for the last two years. So far, there have been notable indictments in the probe with more expected to come. Trump has expressed his total rejection of the investigation calling it on many occasions a “witch hunt” against his administration.