Attorney General nominee William Pelham Barr was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday in a 12-10 vote.
During the hearing, Democrats on the Committee expressed concern about a memo that Barr wrote last year that called the Mueller investigation into the Russian interference in the 2016 election “fatally misconceived.” Senate Democrats expressed concern that Barr would not make the results of the investigation public.
Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) commented on this point, saying:
This is particularly concerning as nothing in existing law and regulations prevents the attorney general from sharing the report. … Under his theory, the president is above the law in most respects. … That’s stunning. To argue that the president has no check on his authority flies in the face of our constitutional principles of checks and balances.
Chairman of the Committee, Lindsey Graham (R-SC) commented on the Committee’s vote to push through the nomination to the Senate:
Mr. Barr is one of the most well qualified individuals in the country to serve as Attorney General as he has held the job in the past. He has served honorably and I expect he will be a steady hand at the Department of Justice. … I strongly support his nomination and look forward to the Senate confirming him to this important position.
Barr was announced as a nominee in December, and the Committee began the confirmation hearing in January. Now that the Committee has voted in favor of nomination, a simple majority of the full Senate is required to confirm Barr’s nomination.