Schumer tells Trump to drop attorney general pick over Mueller criticism

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump signs short-term spending bill to avert shutdown Senators urge Trump to suspend Huawei license approvals Tensions rise in Senate's legislative 'graveyard' MORE (D-N.Y.) on Thursday said that William Barr's criticism of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTrump says he'll release financial records before election, knocks Dems' efforts House impeachment hearings: The witch hunt continues Speier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump MORE's probe disqualifies him from serving as attorney general and urged President TrumpDonald John TrumpWatergate prosecutor says that Sondland testimony was 'tipping point' for Trump In private moment with Trump, Justice Kennedy pushed for Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination: book Obama: 'Everybody needs to chill out' about differences between 2020 candidates MORE to nominate someone else.

Schumer's statement comes after The Wall Street Journal reported that Barr, a former attorney general from the George H.W. Bush administration, sent an unsolicited memo earlier this year criticizing the investigation, saying it is based on a "fatally misconceived" theory and would do "lasting damage" to the presidency.

ADVERTISEMENT

"The fact that he holds these deeply misguided views and chose to launch them in an unprovoked written attack on the Special Counsel unquestionably disqualifies Mr. Barr from serving as attorney general again," Schumer said in a statement on Thursday. 

He added that because Barr's nomination hasn't been formally sent to the Senate, Trump "must immediately reconsider and find another nominee who is free of conflicts and will carry out the duties of the office impartially.”

"Barr's memo reveals that he is fatally conflicted from being able to oversee the Special Counsel’s investigation and he should not be nominated to be attorney general," Schumer continued. 

Barr declined to comment to the Journal, but a Justice Department spokesperson told the paper that Barr offered his thoughts "on his own initiative." 

Barr's views on the Mueller probe were already under scrutiny from senators on both sides of the aisles who pledged to press him on if he would let the investigation continue unimpeded if he is confirmed. 

Trump earlier this month named Barr as his pick to fill the top Justice Department spot. If confirmed, he would have oversight of Mueller's probe into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election.