The Senate Judiciary Committee has delayed a vote for attorney general nominee William Barr until next week, in the wake of Democratic opposition.
This lag is standard for the committee, particularly on controversial nominees, which gives lawmakers the opportunity to postpone votes by a week if they have outstanding concerns. Numerous Democrats on Tuesday raised questions about Barr’s nomination and his willingness to share a final, unredacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference with Congress.
“He didn’t clearly commit to share a published final report. He didn’t clearly commit to seek and follow the advice of career ethics officials in the Department,” said Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE).
Committee chair Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said the panel would reach out to Barr to secure additional responses about executive privilege and the Mueller report ahead of next week’s vote. The Republican-controlled panel and Senate are expected to ultimately vote in favor of Barr when his nomination advances, and the Judiciary Committee is set to take up the vote again on February 7.
Barr’s nomination had prompted questions when it was first announced, given a memo he wrote last year that slammed the special counsel’s obstruction of justice inquiry into Trump. During his confirmation hearing, Barr had said he fully supported the continuation of Mueller’s investigation. “I believe it is vitally important that the special counsel be allowed to complete his investigation,” he said at the time.
Democrats, many of whom raised alarms about comments acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker has made about the Mueller investigation, still have plenty of questions.