Attorney General nominee William Barr was on Capitol Hill Wednesday and met with several GOP Senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee, including Lindsey Graham (SC), but when Democrats requested to meet with Barr, they were told the government shutdown prevented it.
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) was one of the Democrats denied a meeting with Barr before his confirmation hearings begin next week. He issued a statement which read:
“William Barr’s refusal to meet with Democratic Senators on the Judiciary Committee is entirely unprecedented and unacceptable. The Department of Justice’s attempt to excuse this gross break in the norms by citing a ‘truncated schedule’ is galling when they are the ones who have rushed it. My Republican colleagues should share my outrage at this appalling violation of the Senate’s independent authority.”
And Senator Amy Klobuchar referenced Blumenthal in a tweet she sent out:
“I tried (as did Blumenthal) to get meeting w/AG nominee Barr and was told he couldn’t meet until AFTER the hearing. The reason given? The shutdown.
“This is a 1st for me w/ any nominee as a member of judiciary.”
Barr’s confirmation hearings are set for January 15 and 16. He’s expected to be questioned extensively about a 19-page memo he sent to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in which he harshly criticized the ongoing investigation being conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. In that memo, Barr called possibly charging President Donald Trump with obstruction of justice “fatally misconceived.”
Senator Graham said Wednesday that Barr had assured him he would not interfere with the Mueller investigation if he’s confirmed as the next head of the Justice Department, commenting:
“I can assure you (Barr) has a very high opinion of Mr. Mueller and he is committed to letting Mr. Mueller finish his job.”
UPDATE: Senator Klobuchar says she has been informed that Barr will indeed meet with her Thursday morning. On Twitter, she wrote:
Thanks everyone. My meeting is now set for this afternoon with AG nominee Barr. Coffee will be hot. ☕️ https://t.co/jUn2AONuQg
— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) January 10, 2019
The question, however, remains: Why did it take so much pressure in order for Barr to agree to such a meeting with a member of the very committee that will decided whether or not he gets the job as the next attorney general?
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