Barr previously served as attorney general from 1991 to 1993 under President George H.W. Bush and is highly respected in the conservative legal world.
The US Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved President Donald Trump's attorney general nominee, William Barr, and sent his nomination on to the full Senate for a final confirmation vote. The Washington Post, CNN and NPR have coverage.
Senators debated Barr's candidacy for hours and focused in particular on the role he will play supervising the Russian Federation investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), the committee's chair, said that Barr had to be talked into returning to the Justice Department and that he trusted him to be "fair to the public and true to the law".
"William Barr has been confirmed by the Senate three times without opposition", said Sen.
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell moved to limit debate and cut off any filibuster threats against the Barr nomination Thursday, setting up votes as soon as the Senate finishes work on a bipartisan package of public lands bills.
Among other concerns: Barr would not commit to follow the guidance of career ethics officials on whether he should recuse himself from oversight of the Mueller investigation or commit to defer to Mueller's investigative decisions. Barr has said he will be as transparent as possible under Justice Department regulations and will make as much public as he can.
During his confirmation hearing earlier this year, Barr, 68, assured senators of his independence and said that he would not be bullied by anyone into doing something he believes is wrong if he becomes the attorney general. Durbin said he would vote no.
Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) said he felt Barr was a "good person" and likened him to Jim Mattis - Trump's former defense secretary, who had a reputation for being independent and resigned from the administration amid disagreements with the president.
Whitaker said late last month the Mueller-led investigation is "close to being completed", although there has been no confirmation of this from the special counsel's office.