Attorney general nominee William Barr promised senators never to cave to political pressure from President Trump or elsewhere, saying his age and experience free him to act independently from a president who has attacked the Justice Department, reports the Wall Street Journal. Barr, in his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, repeatedly promised to allow special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election to proceed to its conclusion. He said he would refuse a hypothetical order by Trump to fire Mueller without cause. “I will not be bullied into doing anything I think is wrong—by anybody, whether it be editorial boards or Congress or the president,” said Barr, 68, who was attorney general in the George H.W. Bush administration.
Senators in both parties sought assurances Barr could bring stability to a Justice Department rocked by political turbulence and deal with a president who publicly rebuked former Attorney General Jeff Sessions over his recusal from oversight of Mueller’s investigation. “I want to thank you for being willing to take this task on,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), making his debut as Judiciary chairman. “We’ve got a lot of problems at the Department of Justice. I think morale is low, and we need to change that.” With Republicans holding a 53-47 advantage in the Senate and with possible support from some Democrats, Barr is expected to be confirmed smoothly.