Graham vows to push Trump’s AG pick through Judiciary Committee

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamOval Office clash ups chances of shutdown Republicans skeptical of Trump’s plan to have military build the wall Corker to introduce resolution holding Saudi crown prince 'responsible' for Khashoggi's death MORE (R-S.C.), likely the next chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, praised President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Republicans move to block Yemen war-powers votes for rest of Congress Trump says he's considering 10 to 12 contenders for chief of staff Michael Flynn asks judge to spare him from jail time MORE’s nomination of William Barr to be attorney general and said he intends to help move his confirmation process through the Senate.  

“President Trump made an outstanding decision in nominating William Barr to serve as the next Attorney General. Mr. Barr is highly capable, highly respected and will provide new and much-needed leadership for the Department of Justice,” Graham said in a statement.

Graham also highlighted Barr's previous experience as attorney general under the late President George H.W. Bush, calling the nominee "a known quantity, a man of the highest integrity and character, and has an impeccable reputation."

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“I will do everything in my power to push him through the Senate Judiciary Committee and onto the floor of the Senate for eventual confirmation as soon as possible,” he added.

A frequent Trump detractor during the 2016 campaign, Graham has turned into one of the president’s most reliable partners on Capitol Hill.

The South Carolina Republican made headlines with an impassioned defense of Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughThe case for reauthorizing VAWA Kamala Harris to keep seat on Judiciary Committee Planned Parenthood president 'deeply concerned' about Kavanaugh presence on Supreme Court MORE in September after multiple allegations of sexual misconduct upended his confirmation process. 

Trump announced Barr’s nomination Friday, calling him a “brilliant man” and telling reporters “he was my first choice since day one.” 

Barr would replace former Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsPress: Mueller closes in on Trump Mueller's findings don't matter The Hill's Morning Report — Trump shakes up staff with eye on 2020, Mueller probe MORE, who was dismissed in November and drew the president’s ire after he recused himself from the Justice Department’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

The Department of Justice is currently led by acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker.

Sessions's recusal resulted in Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinMueller’s real challenge Graham vows to push Trump’s AG pick through Judiciary Committee House GOP set to grill Comey MORE’s appointment of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE.

Barr criticized Mueller’s team last year over political donations some of its lawyers had made in the past, telling The Washington Post in 2017, “prosecutors who make political contributions are identifying fairly strongly with a political party.”

“I would have liked to see [Mueller] have more balance on this group,” he added.

Barr also suggested Mueller’s team may have been behind leaks of sensitive details of the investigation, including whether Trump was the target of an obstruction probe.

“Leaks by any investigation are deplorable and raise questions as to whether there is an agenda,” Barr told The Hill in June 2017.

His confirmation process, which will begin in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, will likely be marked by questions from Democrats about the Justice Department’s political independence from the White House as well as how Barr would tackle overseeing Mueller.

“I do think he is worthy of consideration. I am concerned he has said some negative things about the special counsel's office and some of the prosecutors he had in place,” Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharHillicon Valley — Presented by AT&T — Google CEO gets grilling before Congress | Pressure builds for election security bill | Trump to target China over IP theft | Experts warn cyber criminals growing more brazen The Year Ahead: Pressure mounts on election security as 2020 approaches Hillicon Valley — Presented by AT&T — NRCC exposes security flaws 2 years after Russia hacks | Google Plus to shut down early | Scathing House report scolds Equifax for breach | McCarthy knocks Google ahead of CEO's hearing MORE (D-Minn.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Thursday on MSNBC.