Senate confirms William Barr as U.S. attorney general

By Sarah N. Lynch and Andy Sullivan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S

Reuters February 15, 2019 02:07:24 IST
Senate confirms William Barr as U.S. attorney general

Senate confirms William Barr as US attorney general

By Sarah N. Lynch and Andy Sullivan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate confirmed William Barr as attorney general on Thursday, installing a seasoned lawyer with decades of Washington experience to head the Justice Department and putting him in charge of overseeing Special Counsel Robert Mueller's long-running probe of whether President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign colluded with Russia.

The Senate voted 54 to 45, largely along party lines. A Justice Department spokeswoman said Barr will be sworn in at 4:45 PM ET in the Oval Office of the White House by Chief Justice John Roberts.

Many Democrats opposed Barr out of concern he might not make Mueller's findings fully public. But the Senate is controlled by Trump's fellow Republicans, so Barr's confirmation was virtually assured.

Previously attorney general from 1991 to 1993 under President George H.W. Bush, Barr has won praise from lawmakers in both parties for his expertise and grasp of the workings of the Justice Department.

He would be the third man in barely two years to occupy that post, replacing acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, who replaced Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Trump ousted Sessions last November after criticizing him repeatedly.

Mueller is investigating meddling by Russia in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and whether Moscow colluded with Trump's campaign to try to tilt the election in Trump's favour, as well as possible obstruction of justice.

Trump denies any collusion. The Kremlin denies any meddling.

Before being nominated, Barr wrote a 19-page legal memo, in which he called Mueller's probe "fatally flawed." He shared it with Trump's legal team and Justice Department officials.

Barr has said he will not let himself be bullied by Trump and will protect the integrity of Mueller's investigation and make public as many of its findings as he can.

Barr has not promised to release Mueller's report in its entirety. He has warned he may not be allowed to reveal the identities of people who escape prosecution. That stance troubles many Democrats, who say Barr's expansive views of executive power might lead him to suppress parts of the report.

Despite Democrats' opposition, many were anxious to have Barr installed quickly so he would replace Whitaker, whose tenure has been fraught with controversy since Trump appointed him in November.

Critics have alleged Whitaker's appointment was unlawful. Democrats fear Trump installed Whitaker to undermine Mueller's probe because Whitaker had criticized it when he was a conservative pundit.

Barr is widely expected to back many of Trump's tough immigration policies. He will also be under the microscope for how he implements a new law that eases prison sentences for non-violent criminals, after he advocated for the opposite, tough-on-crime approach for decades.

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch, Andy Sullivan and Lisa Lambert; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh, Peter Cooney and Dan Grebler)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.