‘I Will Not Be Bullied': William Barr, Trump’s AG Nominee, Asserts His Independence

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's nominee for attorney general asserted independence from the White House on Tuesday, saying he believed that Russia had tried to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, that the special counsel investigation shadowing Trump is not a witch hunt and that his predecessor was right to recuse himself from the probe.Those comments by William Barr at his Senate confirmation hearing pointedly departed from Trump's own views and underscored Barr's efforts to reassure Democrats that he will not be a loyalist to a president who has appeared to demand it from law enforcement.Some Democrats are concerned about that very possibility, citing a memo Barr wrote to the Justice Department before his nomination in which he criticized an aspect of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. Barr told senators he was merely trying to warn Justice Department officials against "stretching a statute" to conclude that the president had obstructed justice.Trump has repeatedly castigated Mueller's investigation, calling it a "witch hunt," and lambasted and ultimately pushed out his first attorney general, Jeff Sessions, for removing himself from the matter because of his work with the 2016 Trump campaign."I feel that I'm in a position in life where I can do the right thing and not really care about the consequences," Barr said in an exchange with Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who praised his "character and commitment to the rule of law."At another juncture, Barr was even more pointed."I will not be bullied into doing anything that I think is wrong, whether it be by editorial boards, Congress or the president," Barr said, telling members of the Senate Judiciary Committee that he had been considering semi-retirement when this latest job opportunity came about.  Continue reading...

Copyright The Dallas Morning News
Contact Us