McConnell tees up Barr nomination for next week

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP moves to rein in president's emergency powers Republicans up for reelection fear daylight with Trump Overnight Energy: Students around globe demand climate action | EPA bans consumer sales of deadly chemical in paint strippers | Green New Deal set for Senate vote MORE (R-Ky.) is turning the Senate toward the confirmation of President TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren: 'White supremacists pose a threat to the United States like any other terrorist group' National Enquirer paid 0,000 for Bezos texts: report Santorum: Trump should 'send emails to a therapist' instead of tweeting MORE's attorney general nominee.

McConnell, wrapping up the chamber's work week on Thursday, teed up an initial vote on Barr for next week after the chamber finishes a public lands package.

McConnell praised Barr, who previously served as attorney general to President George H.W. Bush, on Thursday, calling him a "tried and true public servant."

"Before us is a nominee who remains imminently well qualified to discharge these duties," McConnell said. "The Senate needs to act quickly to put Bill Barr back to work at the Justice Department. I hope and expect he'll be confirmed next week."

The Senate Judiciary Committee kicked Barr's nomination to the full Senate earlier Thursday in a 12-10 party line vote.

Democrats' path to blocking Barr, already uphill, grew more challenging on Thursday. Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) became the first Democrat to say they will support Barr.

With Jones's defection, Democrats would need to flip five Republican senators and keep the rest of their caucus united if they want to defeat his nomination.

Several other potential swing votes, including Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinManchin says he won't support LGBTQ protection bill as written Senators offer bipartisan bill to fix 'retail glitch' in GOP tax law Murkowski, Manchin call for 'responsible solutions' to climate change MORE (D-W.Va.), haven't yet said how they will vote.