Attorney General nominee William Barr told new Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsay Graham and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein that he believed Russia did try to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.
Barr continued to say the Department of Justice should absolutely get to the bottom of what the foreign country was capable of and their impact during the election, confirming that he would allow Special Counsel Robert Mueller to continue his investigation.
Answering questions from former Chairman Chuck Grassley and Senator Dick Durbin, Barr said he would keep his hands off of Mueller, complementing his ability to run an honest investigation. He also said he did not believe Mueller was running a “witch hunt.”
ABC News reports Barr said:
“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’s said.
“Second, I also believe it is very important that the public and Congress be informed of the results of the Special Counsel’s work. For that reason, my goal will be to provide as much transparency as I can consistent with the law. I can assure you that, where judgments are to be made by me, I will make those judgments based solely on the law and will let no personal, political, or other improper interests influence my decision.”
“President Trump has sought no assurances, promises, or commitments from me of any kind, either express or implied, and I have not given him any, other than that I would run the Department with professionalism and integrity,” Barr said. “As Attorney General, my allegiance will be to the rule of law, the Constitution, and the American people. That is how it should be. That is how it must be. And, if you confirm me, that is how it will be.”
The attorney general nominee clarified that he does not think Mueller would violate any clauses which would lead to his dismissal. He said Mueller would have to violate a goodwill clause and more due to the national interest in seeing the investigation through.
Barr also defended the Mueller investigation against hypothetical situations posed by the senators involving Trump. The nominee said he would prevent Trump from interfering in the investigation and from editing Mueller’s final report.