Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday called on the president to withdraw William Barr’s nomination for attorney general, saying the nominee’s previous criticism of Robert Mueller’s probe disqualifies him to lead the Justice Department.
In his remarks on the Senate floor, Schumer (D-N.Y.) cited a memo Barr wrote to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein last year that criticized Mueller’s Russia investigation. In the memo, Barr wrote that Mueller’s investigation of possible obstruction of justice was “fatally misconceived.” Barr also wrote that Mueller shouldn’t be allowed to “demand” that President Donald Trump be questioned about allegations of obstruction of justice.
“The Senate…should subject Mr. Barr’s views to the strictest of scrutiny next week and I still believe, after the revelations about Mr. Barr’s unsolicited memo, President Trump ought to withdraw this nomination,” Schumer said.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees Mueller’s probe, previously said the memo had no effect on the investigation. Rosenstein is expected to step down from the DOJ once the new attorney is confirmed.
Trump has consistently denounced the special counsel’s investigation’s into possible Russian collusion as a “witch hunt.” He also soured on his previous attorney General, Jeff Sessions, over Sessions’ recusal from Mueller’s investigation.
Schumer’s remarks come as Barr heads to the Hill Wednesday to meet with senators ahead of his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings, scheduled for Jan. 15 and Jan. 16.
Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine
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