January 15, 2019

Senators Must Get Assurances from William Barr That He Will Protect the Mueller Investigation

Washington, D.C. - ACS President Caroline Fredrickson released the following statement ahead of William Barr's confirmation hearing to be Attorney General:

“The nomination of William Barr to serve as U.S. Attorney General could make or break the Russia investigation. Barr could undermine or effectively end Robert Mueller’s work or block his final report from public release. Either path would leave the American people in the dark about whether a foreign adversary successfully corrupted our democratic process and, most importantly, whether they had inside help from the President and his campaign colleagues.

“It is absolutely vital that at Barr’s confirmation hearing, he provide clear assurances that he will let the Mueller investigation continue without political interference from the White House or Justice Department officials, himself included.

“Barr has in the past downplayed the charges against the President and his campaign. And even though the President has said that the Russia investigation influenced him when he fired the man originally overseeing it, James Comey, Barr said the President made ‘the right call’ with that decision Trump and Barr are even said to have talked about the hiring of Barr as Trump’s private defense attorney, leaving one to wonder what aspects of the Russia investigation were discussed in those meetings. And then there is Barr’s highly troublesome record on civil rights issues, especially when saddled with a  presidential administration seemingly intent on rolling back many of the core freedoms and protections we’ve won over the past decades.

“President Trump is facing numerous legal threats. He obviously feels the walls closing in and is looking to his next Attorney General to serve as a get-out-of-jail-free card. But if the President has committed crimes, we need to be able to rely on the Department of Justice to independently investigate such activity. Any failure by Barr to clearly demonstrate his independence from the President and his willingness to allow the Mueller investigation to continue should disqualify him.”