Dem demands 'ironclad assurances' from Barr on Mueller investigation ahead of confirmation hearings

Dem demands 'ironclad assurances' from Barr on Mueller investigation ahead of confirmation hearings
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) on Sunday demanded that William Barr, President TrumpDonald John TrumpDem lawmaker says Electoral College was 'conceived' as way to perpetuate slavery Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals to visit White House on Monday Transportation Dept requests formal audit of Boeing 737 Max certification MORE's nominee for attorney general, give "ironclad assurances" during his confirmation hearings this week that he will not impede special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's Russia investigation.

Durbin said during an interview on ABC's "This Week" that he's "worried" about whether Barr can properly oversee Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible obstruction of justice on the part of Trump.

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“I’m worried about it. Clearly, he’s a good lawyer. There’s no question. But when it comes to this delicate political situation — the power of the presidency, whether this investigation is warranted — Bill Barr had better give us some ironclad assurances in terms of his independence and his willingness to step back and let Mueller finish his job," Durbin said.

Senate Democrats have voiced concerns for weeks over how Barr will handle the Mueller probe. Their concern stems from an unsolicited memo Barr sent last year to the White House in which he criticized the special counsel investigation, saying that the probe into possible obstruction of justice was based on a "fatally misconceived" theory.

Trump nominated Barr for attorney general following the resignation of former Attorney General 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, who drew the ire of Trump for recusing himself from the Russia investigation. Trump has long attacked the probe, calling it a politically motivated "witch hunt."

Barr's confirmation hearings in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee are scheduled to be held Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham: Dems want to abolish Electoral College because they 'want rural America to go away' Overwhelming majority of voters want final Mueller report released: poll Bottom Line MORE (R-S.C.), the new chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said last week that Barr plans to allow Mueller to finish his investigation.

“I can assure you he has a very high opinion of Mr. Mueller and he is committed to letting Mr. Mueller finish his job,” Graham said following a meeting with Barr.