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 GrassleyThe peculiar priorities of Adam Schiff Advocates frustrated over pace of drug price reform Trump drug pricing setbacks put pressure on Congress MORE (R-Iowa) and incoming Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamWhy Trump's bigoted tropes won't work in 2020 The Memo: Toxic 2020 is unavoidable conclusion from Trump tweets GOP put on the back foot by Trump's race storm 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 SessionsPress: Acosta, latest to walk the plank The Hill's Morning Report — Trump retreats on census citizenship question Alabama senator says Trump opposed to Sessions Senate bid 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 MuellerTop Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump 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 SchumerNYT: Don't make Acosta a political martyr Charities say they never received donations touted by Jeffrey Epstein: report Schumer to donate Epstein campaign contributions to groups fighting sexual violence 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 CollinsGOP put on the back foot by Trump's race storm GOP senator: 'Outrageous' to say Trump's tweets about Democratic congresswomen are racist Fox personalities blast Trump's remarks MORE (R-Maine) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulThe buck stops here: How to restore accountability to the federal regulatory system Trump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand Lawyer: Flynn will keep cooperating after co-conspirator revelations MORE (R-Ky.), have signaled they want assurances on Mueller or expressed unrelated reservations about Barr.