Senate sets Barr's confirmation hearing

The Senate Judiciary Committee announced on Wednesday that it will hold a two-day confirmation hearing for William Barr's attorney general nomination this month.

The hearing, according to a release from outgoing Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyTrump Citizenship and Immigration Services head out at agency Trump-Pelosi fight threatens drug pricing talks Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Senators unveil sweeping bipartisan health care package | House lawmakers float Medicare pricing reforms | Dems offer bill to guarantee abortion access MORE (R-Iowa) and incoming Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTrump declassification move unnerves Democrats Climate change is a GOP issue, too New Yorker cover titled 'The Shining' shows Graham, McConnell, Barr polishing Trump's shoes MORE (R-S.C.) will take place on January 15 and 16.

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Barr was nominated last month to succeed former Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump's nastiest break-ups: A look at the president's most fiery feuds Five takeaways from Barr's new powers in 'spying' probe Amash: Some of Trump's actions 'were inherently corrupt' MORE (R-Ala.), who was ousted in November, as the top Justice Department official. Matt WhitakerMatthew G WhitakerEx-federal prosecutor: 'Thank God' Whitaker is gone, Barr will bring 'integrity' back to DOJ GOP pollster says Dems are relitigating 2016 election with investigations of Trump Former senior FBI official calls Whitaker hearing ‘disgraceful’ MORE has been filling the post in an acting capacity.

Barr previously served in the role during the George H.W. Bush administration.

But his current nomination has run into controversy because of his criticism of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump orders more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions Trump: Democrats just want Mueller to testify for a 'do-over' Graham: Mueller investigation a 'political rectal exam' MORE's investigation. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Barr earlier last year wrote in an unsolicited memo that the probe is based on a “fatally misconceived” theory and would do “lasting damage” to the presidency.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerNo agreement on budget caps in sight ahead of Memorial Day recess Ex-White House photographer roasts Trump: 'This is what a cover up looked like' under Obama Pelosi: Trump 'is engaged in a cover-up' MORE (D-N.Y.) immediately called on Trump to drop Barr.

But nominations only need a simple majority in the Senate. With Republicans expanding their majority to 53 seats, Democrats will need to win over four GOP senators and keep their own caucus united if they want to sink Barr's nomination.

Several Republicans, including Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Collins offering bill to boost battery research as GOP pushes energy 'innovation' Biden says Congress must move to protect abortion rights MORE (R-Maine) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulO'Rourke: Trump 'provoking' war with Iran by sending troops to Middle East Overnight Defense: 1,500 troops heading to Mideast to counter Iran | Trump cites Iran tensions to push through Saudi arms sale | Senate confirms Army, Navy chiefs before weeklong recess Trump to send 1,500 troops to Middle East to counter Iran MORE (R-Ky.), have signaled they want assurances on Mueller or expressed unrelated reservations about Barr.