Hearing Day 2: William Barr Finishes Confirmation Hearings Unscathed & Should Earn Bipartisan Support

Today was the testimony of expert panelists regarding the confirmation of the Honorable William Barr to become Attorney General of the United States. Republican witnesses offered testimony explaining why Mr. Barr is the right fit at the U.S. Department of Justice. Meanwhile, the Democratic witnesses failed to present any real concerns about Mr. Barr or his past tenure as Attorney General in the early 1990s but rather focused on other, systemic issues they perceive in the laws and justice system. Some of most noteworthy testimony for Republican witnesses included:

Former Attorney General, Judge Michael Mukasey noted about Mr. Barr:

He served as well as the head of the office within DOJthe Office of Legal Counselthat is charged with setting the governing legal position on all issues for all departments within the Executive. Quite simply, OLC is the government’s–certainly the Executive’s–principal source of legal authority. By virtue of having headed OLC, he will be able not only to receive the advice of that Office, but also to engage actively on the most difficult issues.

After his service at OLC, Bill Barr served as Deputy Attorney Generalthe chief operating officer of DOJ. This means that he starts out completely knowledgeable in how the Department works. That, of course, adds immeasurably to the efficiency with which he will be able to take up his duties.

Unlike any prior nominee to be Attorney General, he has served as well in that position.


Professor Jonathon Turley offered his thoughts regarding Mr. Barr, too:

[F]or only the second time in history, the Senate will consider a nominee who has previously held this office...That gives the Senate a record not merely of leadership, but of specific leadership of this very department. Any review of Barr’s service in both public office and private practice will reveal a person of the greatest integrity and intellect. Bill Barr is a lawyer’s lawyer— someone who honestly enjoys the details and practice of law. He was extremely popular with the rank-and-file of the FBI and Justice Department because he was a strong and direct and honest leader.

You can view the complete recording of today's hearing here.


Also today, RNLA Vice President for Communications Harmeet Dhillon was published in The Daily Caller regarding the ongoing confirmation of Mr. Barr. Harmeet argues that Democrat Senators ought to support Mr. Barr for Attorney General, just as they did before. She noted the political landscape of the early 1990s:

[A] Democrat-controlled Senate confirmed him by voice vote to serve as attorney general under President George H.W. Bush...At that time, he was highly praised by both Republicans and Democrats. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to recommend his confirmation.

Then-Senator Biden and Senator Leahy were both members of the Senate then that confirmed Mr. Barr. However, in light of the highly polarized Senate of today, Democrats attempted to change tactics, to no avail though. Harmeet explains:

All the Democrats asked in many different ways if Barr would interfere with or stop Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into attempted Russian interference with the 2016 election, even after Barr assured them in his opening statement that he had no intention of interfering with or stopping the investigation....

The Democrats’ political games collapsed in the face of Barr’s consummate professionalism, poise, and competence. As in his appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991, he was forthcoming, did not hesitate to say when he did not know something or would have to investigate something further, and was not afraid to articulate and defend positions that are not politically popular. He talked about how he did or would govern and what the law actually is, while the Democrats tried in vain to trick him with vague hypotheticals.

Ultimately, the same high quality and high caliber candidate for Attorney General, who stood before the Senate in the 1990s, returns before the Senate again. Harmeet concluded:

Bill Barr’s commitment to the public interest, recognized by Joe Biden in 1991, is what led him to sitting through eight hours of questioning from senators yesterday and facing the daunting task of continuing to restore the rule of law to the politicized Justice Department, instead of enjoying a well-deserved retirement.

That is not the profile of a man who will blindly follow the president’s instructions. Instead, as Leahy acknowledged in 1991, Bill Barr has demonstrated independence throughout his career, willing to follow the law and the Constitution in service to the American people, even if it means taking positions that are unpopular. That integrity and independence is what earned him bipartisan support in 1991, and it should earn him bipartisan support today. It is not Barr who has changed, but Senate Democrats who now put politics above all else.

The RNLA will continue to give updates on Mr. Barr's confirmation efforts. Also, you can sign the RNLA's letter of support for Mr. Barr to Senate leaders here.