Trump’s attorney-general nominee pledges to shield Mueller’s Russian Federation probe

William Barr's young grandson Liam wrote a note during his attorney general confirmation hearing commenting on his performance during the questioning and Russia

Donald Trump's nominee for attorney general has contradicted the USA president by saying Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russian election meddling, is not involved in a "witch hunt".

In his prepared testimony, Barr says his memo "was narrow in scope", regarding "a specific obstruction-of-justice theory under a single statute that I thought, based on media reports, the special counsel might be considering".

William Barr, who will appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday for the first of two days of confirmation hearings, will also say it's "very important" for Mueller's report be made public.

"Mr. Barr has expressed some very broad views of executive authority and he's also expressed a very strong view that a president can not be criminally charged", Jennifer Daskal, Associate Professor of Law at American University, told Cheddar on Monday.

Since his nomination last month, Democrats have demanded an explanation for a memo he authored questioning Mr. Mueller's authority and lambasting the probe for looking into obstruction of justice allegations. Barr said he wrote it himself "as a former Attorney General who has often weighed in on legal issues of public importance".

While Barr committed to seeking the advice of career Justice Department ethics officials on whether he should recuse himself from the Mueller probe because of his past comments, Barr said he would make the decision himself "in good faith", based on the laws and facts. "I can assure you that, where judgments are to be made by me, I will make those judgments based exclusively on the law and will let no personal, political, or other improper interests influence my decisions". He said he would not fire Mueller even if Trump asked him to do it and called it "unimaginable" that Mueller would do anything to require his termination.

Barr stated without hesitation that it was in the public interest for Mueller to finish his investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with the Kremlin to sway the election.

Sen. John Kennedy R-La. brings up attorney general nominee William Barr's grandson Liam to sit with him before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing
Barr Vows To Let Mueller Finish His Russia Work — And Promises 'Transparency'

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"I don't believe Mr Mueller would be involved in a witch hunt", he said when asked by the Republican chairman of the committee, Senator Lindsey Graham of SC.

Barr - who refers to Mueller as "Bob" and describes their longtime friendship - can expect a host of questions from Democrats who have said they will press him under oath to commit to not shrinking Mueller's budget, limiting his authority or impairing his ability to seek subpoenas or bring charges.

As top United States law officer, Mr Barr would lead the Department of Justice, which is meant to be politically independent.

Barr will tell senators the Justice Department can not allow people to flout America's legal system by "crashing in through the back door". Barr will answer to questions from Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee. White House officials have contended that Barr would be swiftly appointed to the post by a GOP-controlled Senate. He said presidents can not be criminally investigated for actions they are permitted to take under the Constitution, such as firing officials who work for them, just because of a subjective determination that they may have had a corrupt state of mind. If and when he becomes the attorney general, Barr will assume oversight of the probe from Whitaker.

Barr will note that his memo to the Justice Department did not address the core focus of Mueller's investigation.

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