AG Barr won't recuse himself from Mueller probe

Attorney General William Barr will not recuse himself from overseeing the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said Monday.

DOJ spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said in a statement that senior career ethics officials advised Barr that he should not recuse himself from oversight ofRobert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerKamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction 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 probe.

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"Consistent with that advice, General Barr has decided not to recuse," Kupec said.

Barr was confirmed by the Senate and sworn in last month

Some Democrats urged Barr to step aside from overseeing the Mueller investigation, citing a memo Barr sent last June to the Justice Department and the White House criticizing the special counsel's inquiry into whether Trump obstructed justice.

Barr's views in support of executive power and his refusal to commit to publicly releasing the full report at the conclusion of Mueller's investigation also contributed to Democratic opposition to his appointment.

Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 has thus far implicated six former Trump associates and dozens of Russians.

Multiple reports late last month indicated that Mueller was preparing to submit a final report to Barr explaining decisions to prosecute or not prosecute over specific incidents; Barr would then determine how much to provide to Congress.

He told the Senate Judiciary Committee during his nomination hearings that it is "vitally important" for Mueller to be allowed to complete his investigation. He added that the attorney general "has some flexibility" in terms of the final report, but that he would try “to get as much as I can of the information to Congress and the public.”

Former Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsAlabama senator: Sessions hasn't ruled out Senate bid Alabama senator: Sessions hasn't ruled out Senate bid The Hill's Morning Report - Trump to kick off bid for second term in Florida MORE recused himself from overseeing the Mueller investigation after he failed to disclose contact with a Russian official during the 2016 campaign.

That decision led to relentless criticism from President Trump, who lamented that he would not have nominated Sessions for the post had he known about that decision in advance.

Updated at 7:44 p.m.