UPDATED 9:03 AM PT — Tuesday, January 15, 2018
William Barr appeared on Capitol Hill for the first day of confirmation hearings to become the next attorney general of the United States.
In his opening remarks Tuesday, Barr addressed concerns about his view on the Russia investigation. He said the country needs to be free of partisan politics, and Robert Mueller needs to be allowed to finish his probe.
Barr also mentioned his 2018 memo to the Department of Justice, where he criticized the obstruction of justice case against President Trump. He said he wrote that memo with a narrow view of the investigation, and his opinion was only to express his legal point of view.
He then vowed to allow the Mueller probe to continue:
“I believe it is vitally important that the special counsel be allowed to complete his investigation. I have known Bob Mueller for 30 years. We worked closely together throughout my previous tenure at the Department of Justice. We’ve been friends since and I have the utmost respect for Bob and his distinguished record of public service. And when he was named special counsel I said his selection was good news and that knowing him, I had confidence he would handle the matter properly and I still have that confidence today. Given his public actions to date, I expect that the special counsel is well along in his investigation. At the same time, the president has been steadfast that he was not involved in any collusion with Russian attempts to interfere in the election. I believe it is in the best interests of everyone, the president, Congress and the American people, that this matter be resolved by allowing the special counsel to complete his work. The country needs a credible resolution to these issues and if confirmed, I will not permit partisan politics, personal interests or any other improper consideration to interfere with this or any other investigation. I will follow the special counsel regulations scrupulously and in good faith and on my watch Bob will be allowed to finish his work.”
Barr also pledged to uphold the integrity of the office of the attorney general.