Barr Pledges Independence at DOJ

In: All News   Posted 01/15/2019

WASHINGTON – During the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to consider the nomination of Mr. William Barr to serve as the U.S. Attorney General, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) today questioned Mr. Barr on the importance of remaining an impartial arbiter of the law. Excerpts of Sen. Cornyn’s line of questioning are below, and video can be found here.

SENATOR JOHN CORNYN: “To me, the Attorney General is one of the most challenging cabinet offices to hold because, as you point out in your opening statement, you are committed to the rule of law and enforcing the laws of the land, but you are also political appointee of a president.

“If you are serving another cabinet position, certainly you're committed to implementing the President's agenda or the agenda of an administration, but as Attorney General, that is not an unequivocal commitment because there may be some things that the administration wants you to do that you cannot do consistent with the rule of law. Correct?”

WILLIAM BARR: “That's right, Senator. One of the reasons I ultimately decided that I would accept this position, if it was offered to me, was because I feel that I’m in a position to be independent. You know, over the years, a lot of people – some politicians – have called me up saying, ‘you know, I think I’m going for the attorney general position in this administration.’ And I say, ‘you're crazy.’ Because if you view yourself as having a political future down the road, don't take the job, because if you take this job, you have to be ready to make decisions and spend all your political capital and have no future because you have to have that freedom of action. And I feel I’m in a position in life where I can do the right thing and not really care about the consequences in the sense that I can truly be independent.

SEN. CORNYN: “Do you agree that restoration of public confidence in the FBI and Department of Justice as an apolitical or nonpolitical law enforcement organization is important?”

BARR: “It's critical, and that's one of the reasons I’m sitting here. I'd like to help with that process.”

SEN. CORNYN: “Well, Mr. Barr, I think you're uniquely qualified to do that.”