Schumer tells Trump to drop attorney general pick over Mueller criticism

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis Schumer4 in 5 Americans say they support net neutrality: poll GOP senator: Trump's criticism of McCain 'deplorable' Schumer to introduce bill naming Senate office building after McCain amid Trump uproar MORE (D-N.Y.) on Thursday said that William Barr's criticism of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's probe disqualifies him from serving as attorney general and urged President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate GOP budget ignores Trump, cuts defense Trump says he'll nominate Stephen Moore to Fed White House: ISIS territory in Syria has been 100 percent eliminated 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.