Senate panel set to approve Trump's attorney general nominee

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The previous Attorney-General, Jeff Sessions, was sacked by Trump in November. Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker is now filling the position.

"We need an attorney general who can assure the Senate and the public that he will stand up to a president who believes the Justice Department exists to do his personal bidding and to protect his personal interests", Schumer said in a tweet. Lindsey Graham (R-NC) acknowledged that President Donald Trump "can be a handful".

Democrats also expressed concern about Barr's memo he sent to the Justice Department a year ago, unsolicited, that detailed presidential power and said Mueller had a "fatally misconceived" theory that Trump committed a crime when he fired a political appointee, FBI Director James B. Comey, because that was in his powers as president. On Thursday, Sen. John Kennedy, Republican of Louisiana, said that he would vote for it even though he said the "only question" is whether the Mueller report is going to leak "in toto" or in part.

Barr has declined to offer a firm guarantee that he would release Mueller's report in its entirety - noting that the regulations governing Mueller's appointment do not call for that.

Barr pledged at his confirmation hearing to keep politics out of Justice Department decisions and said he would refuse an instruction from the president to fire Mueller absent good cause to do so.

All 12 Republicans on the panel voted for Barr, while all 10 Democrats voted against him.

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A practicing Catholic and a member of the Knights of Columbus, Barr said in his confirmation hearings that he did not believe his faith would hinder his ability to serve as an effective attorney general.

"They paid for it", said Sen.

Whitaker, who was appointed by Trump in November, said last week that the investigation "is close to being completed".

"This memo is of serious concern to me and appears to be seminal in his appointment to this position", Feinstein said.

Trump has repeatedly dismissed any collusion between his campaign and Moscow, while slamming the Mueller probe as a "hoax" or "witch hunt".

Senators debated Barr's candidacy for several hours, focusing on his potential role in supervising special counsel Robert Mueller in the Russian Federation investigation.

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