The Senate confirmed William Barr on Thursday to serve as President Donald Trump’s next attorney general.
William Barr’s confirmation to become the next attorney general came with a 54-45 vote and featured broad Republican support and little Democrat support.
Barr served as attorney general during the George H.W. Bush administration.
Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said in a tweet on Thursday, “Today is a great day for the Department of Justice with the confirmation of William Barr to be the next Attorney General”:
Today is a great day for the Department of Justice with the confirmation of William Barr to be the next Attorney General.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) February 14, 2019
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement on Thursday, “A major victory for justice and the rule of law in America: the Senate just confirmed President @’s outstanding nominee William Barr as Attorney General”:
A major victory for justice and the rule of law in America: the Senate just confirmed President @realDonaldTrump’s outstanding nominee William Barr as Attorney General
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) February 14, 2019
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) voted against Barr, noting that Barr believes in the government’s ability to surveil Americans’ phone and financial records without a warrant.
Sens. Doug Jones (D-AL), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and Joe Manchin (D-WV) voted to confirm Barr.
“Barr has been very explicit that he doesn’t think the Fourth Amendment applies to your business records once you allow business to capture these records. I disagree,” Sen. Paul said in an interview on Breitbart News Daily on Wednesday.
Paul also said that Barr might support banning semiautomatic weapons or limiting the size of gun magazines.
The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced Barr to the Senate confirmation last Friday.
At a business meeting to vote on Barr’s nomination and judicial nominations, Graham said, “I think we need a steady hand at the department, and I think he provides a steady hand.”
Democrats largely opposed Barr’s nomination, citing his unwillingness to release special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report to Congress and the public.
However, Barr said in January that Congress and the public should know the results of Mueller’s investigation into alleged collusion during the 2016 presidential election.
I believe it is in the best interest of everyone — the President, Congress, and, most importantly, the American people — that this matter be resolved by allowing the special counsel to complete his work. The country needs a credible resolution of these issues. If confirmed, I will not permit partisan politics, personal interests, or any other improper consideration to interfere with this or any other investigation.
Barr also stated that he would not follow an order from President Trump to fire Mueller without good cause.
Barr said, “I think those special counsel regulations should stay in place for the duration of this investigation, and we can do a postmortem then. But I have no reason to think they’re not working.”
Democrats have also cited a memo he wrote months ago stating that President Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey would not be an obstruction of justice.
“Mr. Barr believes the president gets to supervise an investigation into his own conduct,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). “This is not a time of history where Congress should be abdicating our responsibilities.”