Despite serious misgivings about him interfering with the Mueller investigation directly on order of Donald Trump, William Barr has been confirmed by the Senate as Attorney General on a party line vote.
William P. Barr was confirmed Thursday as the U.S. attorney general, putting him in command of the Justice Department at one of the most politically charged moments in its history.
Senators voted 54 to 45, mostly along party lines, to confirm Barr, who will now supervise special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s inquiry into whether President Trump’s campaign conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 election.
Among Barr’s first major decisions will be what to tell the public about the results of that investigation — a choice that will force the attorney general to balance the public’s insatiable appetite for information, Justice Department policies that favor secrecy and a president unlikely to be satisfied with anything but total exoneration.
People familiar with the matter said Barr also has all but settled on a new second-in-command , as Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who appointed Mueller, is expected to leave soon. Barr has not disclosed any names publicly.
While Republicans hailed Barr’s confirmation, Democrats and left-leaning advocacy groups said they remained wary of Trump’s appointee, who at his confirmation hearing notably declined to promise that he would release Mueller’s report. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the Senate Judiciary Committee’s top Democrat, said in a statement Thursday that she considered Barr’s lack of commitment to releasing Mueller’s report “disqualifying,” and she worried he would be unable to stand up to Trump.
“While I opposed Bill Barr’s nomination, it’s my hope that he’ll remember he is the people’s lawyer, not the president’s lawyer,” Feinstein said.
The vote’s outcome was unsurprising. Trump’s nominee had cleared a procedural hurdle earlier this week by a 55-to-44 vote— even winning a few Democratic votes in an era gripped by partisanship. On Thursday, three Democrats crossed the aisle to vote for Barr: Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), Doug Jones (Ala.) and Joe Manchin III (W.Va.).
My prediction remains: America will never see the Mueller report, only that it "clears Donald Trump of any wrongdoing". The notion that Barr will be transparent in any way is laughable, and Trump will make it very clear that if the report is leaked, people will go to prison. Barr will authorize an "executive summary" of the findings and they won't be the worth the toner they're printed with.
The Democrats will howl, and it may even become a major campaign issue, but the report will disappear.
Now, the New York state and Southern District of New York federal investigation into Trump, well, those were always going to be the far more dangerous ones for him.