Published: Wed, January 30, 2019
Worldwide | By Stella Potter

Senate committee delays vote on Trump's attorney general pick

Senate committee delays vote on Trump's attorney general pick

However, it comes amid pronounced partisan divide over Barr's nomination and one day after acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker told reporters at an unrelated news conference the Mueller "investigation is, I think, close to being completed". "I hope we can get the report from Director Mueller as soon as possible".

He said there have been signs for some time that the probe is "winding down", noting that Mueller is allowing defendants to be sentenced, he's staffing down a bit, and he has transferred a number of cases to other components of the Justice Department.

FILE PHOTO: William Barr testifies at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on his nomination to be attorney general of the United States on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 15, 2019.

Whitaker said he has been fully briefed about Mueller's work and that he is looking forward to reviewing a final report.

Whitaker didn't say exactly when he thought the investigation would end.

Monday, acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker gave a brief statement about Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation that drew attention, as he told reporters that Mueller's Russian Federation probe is nearly done.

Democratic Senator Chris Coons of DE said Whitaker's statement that decisions made in the investigation would be reviewed is "chilling", adding he doesn't have confidence that Whitaker will respect the independence of Mueller's probe. Barr also wouldn't say that the president can't pardon himself or others involved in the probe.

According to Justice Department regulations, Mueller has to provide a report to the attorney general at the conclusion of his investigation laying out his prosecution decisions. He also pledged to ask Barr whether he would let Trump claim executive privilege to muzzle portions of the report.

His answers could result in more criticism from lawmakers who are seeking ironclad assurances that the public will get to read Mueller's report.

But it's unclear what form the report will take or whether it will be released publicly.

But Barr doesn't need any Democratic support to be confirmed.

Chairman Lindsey Graham of SC said during Tuesday's committee hearing that the potential loopholes are "a good question to get answered" and said he would ask Barr.

Two Senate Judiciary panel members - Republican Chuck Grassley and Democrat Richard Blumenthal - said Monday that they're proposing legislation that would require Mueller's report to be made available to the public and Congress when the investigation is complete.

"This is the biggest issue facing our country and the American people deserve to know Mueller's findings and analysis without any filter", Feinstein added.

Trump has repeatedly accused the special counsel team of being a biased "witch hunt" against him.

-With assistance from Steven T. Dennis.

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