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

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamWhite House won't move forward with billions in foreign aid cuts GOP group calls on Republican senators to stand up to McConnell on election security in new ads Cindy McCain says no one in Republican Party carries 'voice of reason' after husband's death MORE (R-S.C.), likely the next chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, praised President TrumpDonald John TrumpDavid Axelrod after Ginsburg cancer treatment: Supreme Court vacancy could 'tear this country apart' EU says it will 'respond in kind' if US slaps tariffs on France Ginsburg again leaves Supreme Court with an uncertain future 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 KavanaughTrump wishes Ginsburg well after radiation treatment for tumor Ginsburg completes radiation treatment for cancerous tumor Mississippi professor, who went to Georgetown Prep with Brett Kavanaugh, sues HuffPost 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 SessionsA better way to run the Federal Bureau of Prisons Trump admin erases key environmental enforcement tool DOJ should take action against China's Twitter propaganda 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 Rosenstein10 declassified Russia collusion revelations that could rock Washington this fall Why the presumption of innocence doesn't apply to Trump McCabe sues FBI, DOJ, blames Trump for his firing MORE’s appointment of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerMueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony 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 KlobucharSteyer calls on DNC to expand polling criteria for debates Gabbard hits DNC over poll criteria for debates The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch MORE (D-Minn.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Thursday on MSNBC.