Tuesday morning, President Donald Trump‘s pick to be the next Attorney General of the United States, William Barr, will sit for the first day of his confirmation hearing. Watch live in the player above.
Barr, who served in the same role under the administration of President George H.W. Bush, replaces former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and current acting AG Matthew Whitaker.
The nomination of Barr raised concerns related to how he might treat Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s investigation, which he would be overseeing if confirmed for the position. In the past, Barr has supported Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, which led to Mueller’s appointment and an investigation of possible obstruction of justice. Barr also wrote a memo in June 2018 criticizing Mueller’s obstruction investigation, although he acknowledged not having all of the facts.
Typically, the Attorney General is the one with the power to fire a special counsel. Since Jeff Sessions had recused himself from the Russia investigation due to his own ties to the Trump campaign, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was acting Attorney General when it came to the investigation. Rosenstein will reportedly step down as Deputy AG after Barr’s confirmation, which seems highly probable given Republican control of the Senate.
Despite concerns over Barr’s past statements, his prepared remarks for the hearing, which were released in advance, stated clearly that he will not put a stop to Mueller’s investigation.
“I believe it is vitally important that the Special Counsel be allowed to complete his investigation,” Barr wrote, adding, “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.”
[Image via NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images]