Justice nominee Barr 'can conceive' of jailing journalists 'as a last resort'

Some Democrats are concerned about that very possibility, citing a memo Barr wrote to the Justice Department before his nomination in which he criticized Mueller's investigation for the way it was presumably looking into whether Trump had obstructed justice.

"The country needs a credible resolution of these issues", Barr said in opening remarks prepared for his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. The nominee told senators he was merely trying to warn Justice Department officials against "stretching a statute" to conclude that the president had obstructed justice.

Barr, an attorney general under former President George H.W. Bush, also a Republican, will address his prior criticism of Mueller's probe, telling members of the committee that a memo he sent past year that called the investigation "fatally misconceived" only outlined his concerns that Mueller might be misinterpreting one aspect of the law.

Former FBI Director James Comey has said Trump asked him to pledge loyalty before firing him in May 2017.

Barr also said he believed so-called sanctuary cities, jurisdictions that limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities, were hurting law enforcement's ability to safeguard the public.

Barr said that he felt that he was in a position in life where he could do the right thing and not really care about the consequences.

"I will not be bullied into doing anything I think is wrong".

Barr has broad support from Republicans who control the Senate, but some Democrats have questioned whether he is the best choice to serve as the top US law enforcement officer at a time when Trump faces several investigations.


Barr said his memo did not question the legitimacy of the probe as a whole, but only expressed concerns that the special counsel might be improperly interpreting one aspect of the law. Democrats will do their best to lock Mr Barr into supporting the Russian Federation probe, but the only remaining question is how many will eventually vote for him.

Barr's views of presidential power could be important as prosecutors and Democrats in the House of Representatives, where they hold the majority, intensify investigations of Trump's personal business practices and his presidency. "If confirmed, there's little doubt that William Barr would continue the Trump Administration's objective of erasing LGBTQ Americans from the fabric of this nation".

He said he would consult ethics officials on whether he would need to recuse himself because of the memo, but made clear the final decision would be his. Lindsey Graham of SC. Barr said he gave Trump his phone number and didn't hear from him again about joining the private team.

Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec has said Barr wrote the memo on his own initiative and relying only on publicly available information.

Barr told Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar last week that he would recuse himself from the Justice Department's efforts to block the merger of AT&T and Time Warner Inc.

On Saturday, Trump was asked by a Fox News host whether he had ever worked for Russian Federation and said: "I think it's the most insulting thing I've ever been asked", but did not give a yes or no answer.

"I will follow the Special Counsel regulations scrupulously and in good faith, and on my watch, Bob will be allowed to complete his work", Barr told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

He has come under criticism from Democrats for the memo, which he sent Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.


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