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Sen. Graham: Trump 'Can Be a Handful'

Sen. Graham: Trump 'Can Be a Handful'

Barr, a longtime communications industry lawyer who was originally attorney general in the early 1990s, was approved 12-10, with all Republicans in support and all Democrats opposed.

If he wins the job, Barr's independence could be put to the test when Mueller wraps up his investigation into the Trump campaign's possible ties to Russian Federation during the 2016 election.

Still, the senator said some questions raised over the probe could occupy the committee "for the next decade", and that portions of the final report could be so highly classified that they are never revealed to the public.

Barr criticized the investigation previous year in a memo to the Justice Department, but he told the committee in confirmation hearings three weeks ago that he would allow Mueller to conclude his work and said he would make as much of his findings public as possible. While Barr has vowed to be as transparent as he can be, Democratic lawmakers have said that is not adequate. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, called a memo in which Barr was critical of Mueller's probe "disqualifying", saying she's anxious that he has not committed to releasing Mueller's report to Congress. "I appreciate what Mr. Whitaker has done, but I think the time has come for new leadership at the department". Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) said he was concerned Barr's previous testimony on the subject "could lay the groundwork for potentially no transparency at all". But he has also noted that he takes seriously department regulations that say the report Mueller submits to the Justice Department should be treated as confidential.

For the time being, Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker will remain in charge of the department - and the Mueller investigation.

Democrats are not alone in wanting Mueller's findings to be made public. Sen.

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Democrats have also criticized a memo Barr wrote to the Justice Department before his nomination in which he criticized Mueller's investigation for the way it was presumably looking into whether Trump had obstructed justice.

Before the committee vote, ranking member Sen.

"I hope I'm wrong".

The Judiciary Committee late last week postponed its vote on advancing Barr's nomination amid concerns from Democrats - which is customary for high-profile nominations.

Barr pledged at his confirmation hearing to keep politics out of Justice Department decisions and said he would refuse an instruction from the president to fire Mueller absent good cause to do so.