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 GrassleyDem calls for Cohen to testify before Senate panel over explosive report Senate Republicans eye rules change to speed Trump nominees IRS shutdown plan fails to quell worries MORE (R-Iowa) and incoming Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamExperts warn of persistent ISIS threat after suicide bombing Graham: Trump should meet Pakistan's leader to reset relations State of American politics is all power games and partisanship 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 SessionsOvernight Health Care: Thousands more migrant children may have been separated | Senate rejects bill to permanently ban federal funds for abortion | Women's March to lobby for 'Medicare for All' Acting AG Whitaker's wife defends him in lengthy email to journalist Watchdog: Thousands more migrant children separated from parents than previously known MORE (R-Ala.), who was ousted in November, as the top Justice Department official. Matt WhitakerMatthew G WhitakerWilliam Barr's only 'flaw' is that he was nominated by Trump Rosenstein, DOJ exploring ways to more easily spy on journalists Pelosi takes power and sets high bar for Trump impeachment 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 SchumerProtecting our judiciary must be a priority in the 116th Congress Baldwin's Trump plays 'Deal or No Deal' with shutdown on 'Saturday Night Live' Sunday shows preview: Shutdown negotiations continue after White House immigration proposal 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 CollinsTrump pitches new plan to reopen government amid Dem pushback The Memo: Concern over shutdown grows in Trump World Overnight Defense: Trump unveils new missile defense plan | Dems express alarm | Shutdown hits Day 27 | Trump cancels Pelosi foreign trip | Senators offer bill to prevent NATO withdrawal MORE (R-Maine) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulPressure mounts for Trump to reconsider Syria withdrawal House Republicans call for moving State of the Union to Senate chamber GOP rep: 'Rand Paul is giving the president bad advice' on Afghanistan and Syria MORE (R-Ky.), have signaled they want assurances on Mueller or expressed unrelated reservations about Barr.