Democrats who want to talk to William Barr, President Donald Trump's nominee for lawyer, before his confirmation hearing say they…
Democrats who want to talk to William Barr, President Donald Trump’s nominee for lawyer, before his confirmation hearing say they have more difficulty doing than normal. And the Justice Department’s excuse for why he is inaccessible – the partial government suspension – does not add.
Barr will appear before the Senate Committee of Confirmation in Washington, DC, on Tuesday to replace former Advocate-General Jeff Sessions and current acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker. Some committee democrats have complained about it before hearing, Barr is waning invitations to meet, which is commonplace.
Then. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) said he learned that he would not meet Barr before hearing and call Barr’s refusal “totally unprecedented and unacceptable”. He said he was offered a meeting after the hearing, but of course, he would much rather meet earlier.
“The Attorney General’s attempt to excuse this rough break in the norms by quoting a” truncated schedule “fails when they are those who have rushed it,” he said in a statement. “My Republican colleagues should share my outrage at this frightening violation of the Senate’s independent authority.”
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) said she was also denied a meeting with Barr until after hearing the confirmation. “The reason for that? The shutdown,” she said in a tweet.
In an interview with Chris Hayes on MSNBC on Wednesday, she said they were denied that the meeting was “a first , “as she always met with big cabinets nominated under Obama and Trump administrations.
“They said I could meet him after hearing because of the suspension, that they could not make the meeting, which is quite ironic, because we have TSA officers out and the FBI and other governments workers who are out doing worked now without pay or equipped, they could not transfer him because of the shutdown, “she said.
Barr found time to meet with newly elected Senate chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Wednesday, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the committee, is scheduled to meet with Barr on Thursday, her spokesman for the Washington Post said.
On Wednesday, Klobuchar argued about how Barr could handle special council Robert Mueller’s investigation and a 19-page private note he sent to the Justice Department in June as a private citizen where he criticized the Mueller probe to “propose an unprecedented expansion of obstructive laws” that could have “serious consequences” for the executive branch. Both things will surely be on the agenda at next week’s hearing.
On Wednesday, Graham said the Barr serving as Advocate General under President George H.W. Bush, committed to letting Mueller “complete his job”.
The Minister of Justice’s spokesman Kerri Kupec told the Post that Barr met with lawmakers from both parties “despite holidays, reduced DOJ staff and resources due to the partial government closure, and the compressed timeline to prepare for a forthcoming hearing.” She said he will do it before and after the hearing and “look forward to” meeting with Blumenthal and others.
Spectators have also begun to wonder where Barr’s financial and ethical disclosures are usually published before confirmation hearings. Walter Shaub, the former head of the Ethics Government Team released in the summer of 2017, tweeted Thursday that the lack of assurance that the public will have access to Barr’s economic information report and ethical agreements “does not” inspire confidence in process. First, @ LindseyGrahamSC does not require Barr (a private citizen to be affected by suspension) to meet senators, then he will not ensure that the public has access to Barr’s public financial information on reporting and ethics. Does not inspire confidence in the process. https://t.co/CeyiUMhVFh
– Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) January 10, 2019
When a president nominates someone to an executive branch position that requires senate confirmation , it is supposed to file a public financial disclosure report within five days, and it usually becomes public before a confirmation hearing.
“The Bar is the chief attorney for the United States federal government and the public has the right to see the full picture of William Barr’s financial holdings prior to the hearing next week, “said Corey Goldstone, spokesman for the non-party sian guard dog Campaign Legal Center. “Information is important because it helps the public evaluate potential conflicts of interest, which is particularly important at the highest levels of government where officials have been entrusted with a crazy amount of power.”
Spokesmen for Graham and Justice Department did not return a request for comment on the issue.