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 GrassleyDrug prices are a matter of life and death Senate panel to hear from pharmacy middlemen on drug prices Seniors win big with Trump rebate rule  MORE (R-Iowa) and incoming Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump's intraparty feuds divide Republicans Trump's attacks on McCain exacerbate tensions with Senate GOP Republicans defend McCain amid Trump attacks 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 SessionsRosenstein still working at DOJ despite plans to leave in mid-March Juan Williams: Don't rule out impeaching Trump O'Rourke on impeachment: 2020 vote may be best way to 'resolve' Trump 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 Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe 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 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.) 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 CollinsSenate GOP poised to go 'nuclear' on Trump picks Overnight Health Care: CDC pushes for expanding HIV testing, treatment | Dem group launches ads attacking Trump on Medicare, Medicaid cuts | Hospitals, insurers spar over surprise bills | O'Rourke under pressure from left on Medicare for all Dem group launches ads attacking Trump's 'hypocrisy on Medicare and Medicaid cuts' MORE (R-Maine) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulTransparency advocate says government agencies face 'use it or lose it' spending Republicans need solutions on environment too Trio of NFL players intern on Capitol Hill as part of league program MORE (R-Ky.), have signaled they want assurances on Mueller or expressed unrelated reservations about Barr.