Graham praises Trump’s selection of Barr as the next attorney general

Graham praises Trump’s selection of Barr as the next attorney general

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) (Bryan Renbaum/TMN/file photo)

WASHINGTON – Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) Friday praised President Donald Trump’s selection of William Barr to serve as the next attorney general of the United States.

Graham is expected to succeed Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) as Senate Judiciary Committee chair in January. The committee will consider Barr’s nomination.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer took a wait-and-see approach with regard to the nomination.

“Given President Trump’s demonstrated lack of regard for the rule of law and the independence of the American justice system, his nominee for attorney general will have a steep hill to climb in order to be confirmed by the Senate. Mr. Barr must commit – at a minimum – under oath before the Senate to two important things: First, that the Special Counsel’s investigation will proceed unimpeded, and second, that the Special Counsel’s final report will be made available to Congress and the public immediately upon completion,” Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement.

Schumer said once the nomination becomes official the Senate will  “carefully and thoroughly examine Mr. Barr’s record and probe his views on many subjects, including but not limited to his views on the independence of the position, executive authority, LGBTQ rights, civil rights, voting rights, protections for people with pre-existing conditions, the environment, consumer protection and anti-trust, and others.”

Trump told reporters gathered on the White House south lawn Friday morning that he would nominate Barr to head DoJ. The president tweeted his decision a short time later.

Barr, 68, served as Attorney General for 14 months under late-President George H.W. Bush. Prior to that position Barr had served as both Deputy Attorney General and Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel.

Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions last month and replaced him with Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker. Whitaker had served as Sessions’ chief of staff.

Democrats blasted Whitaker’s appointment. They said statements Whitaker previously made that called into question the merits of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into potential collusion between members of the Trump campaign and Russian officials should have disqualified Whitaker from serving in that position.

Barr has praised Mueller as a talented prosecutor but has made statements that seem to suggest he believes the special counsel’s investigation has gone on too long and has become too invasive. Barr defended President Trump’s decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey last year.

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