WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump's attorney general nominee, William Barr, is assuring Republican senators he will not interfere with special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.
On Wednesday, Barr met with Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) ahead of his confirmation hearings, which are scheduled for next week.
"I asked Mr. Barr directly, 'Do you think Mr. Mueller is on a witch hunt?' He said no," Graham recalled. "'Do you think he would be fair to the president and the country as a whole?' He said yes. 'And do you see any reason for Mr. Mueller's investigation to be stopped?' He said no. 'Do you see any reason for a termination based on cause?' He said no. 'Are you committed to making sure Mr. Mueller can finish his job?' 'Yes.'"
The news comes as Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who's overseeing the investigation, announced he's stepping down after Barr is confirmed.
Some Democrats want Barr to recuse himself from the Mueller probe because of his previous statements criticizing the investigation.
Specifically, they're referring to a controversial memo Barr wrote last year to Rosenstein calling the probe "fatally misconceived."
"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," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said Wednesday.
Likewise, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) said the memo was "deeply worrisome because in effect he says the president is above the law... that's incorrect as a matter of law but certainly for an attorney general to have that position is deeply wrong."
However, Graham says Democrats' fears are unfounded, noting that Barr and Mueller are good friends of more than 20 years and their wives attend a Bible study together.
"I can assure you he has a very high opinion of Mr. Mueller and he is committed to letting Mr. Mueller finish his job," the South Carolina lawmaker said.