Senator Richard Blumenthal says that he will oppose the confirmation of William Barr to be the next attorney general. Blumenthal, who serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, met with Barr Monday before announcing his decision.
Blumenthal said in a release that he has a number of policy differences with Barr, particularly on women’s reproductive rights and on criminal justice and civil rights.
But the breaking point for him comes in relation to the Russia investigation being conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, under the auspices of the Justice Department, which Barr would oversee.
“The defining question for me was his declining to commit to release the Special Counsel’s report fully and completely,” said Blumenthal. “He chose not to make the commitment that he would release that report completely and directly to Congress and the American people.”
Blumenthal described this as the defining test of a larger question. “Will Mr. Barr be the people’s lawyer or the President’s lawyer? He must serve the public interest not do the bidding of the president.”
Barr is nominated to the AG’s position to replace interim appointment Matthew Whittaker. He’s been heading the department since the departure of Jeff Sessions, who was asked by President Donald Trump to resign last November.
The Judiciary Committee is due to vote Thursday on whether to recommend Barr’s confirmation to the full Senate.