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Tammy Baldwin statement opposing nomination of Barr to U.S. attorney general



FILE - Tammy Baldwin (AP)

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin has put out a statement opposing the nomination of William Barr to U.S. attorney general.

The Republican-held Senate will likely confirm Barr’s nomination later this week.

Two Democratic senators, West Virginia’s Joe Manchin and Alabama’s Doug Jones, have said they’ll vote for President Donald Trump’s pick to replace Jeff Sessions.

Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin is also expected to vote in favor of Barr.

Here is Baldwin’s statement:

I will not support President Trump’s nominee for United States Attorney General, William Barr. Here is my full statement:

“I was encouraged that the President selected a serious nominee with public service experience and I welcomed the opportunity of meeting with Mr. Barr. I take my responsibility to consider this nomination very seriously because it comes at an unprecedented time in our nation’s history. There is an ongoing criminal and national security investigation of Russia’s attack on our democracy and interference in our elections. There are consistent attacks on the Department of Justice and the rule of law by this President. Now more than ever, the American people need an Attorney General who we can trust to act with independence.

“In June 2018, Mr. Barr, as an attorney in private practice, sent an unsolicited memo to the Department of Justice and President Trump’s lawyers attacking Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation. This hostility towards the Special Counsel’s investigation came on the same day new charges of conspiracy and obstruction of justice were brought against President Trump’s former campaign chair, Paul Manafort. Mr. Barr’s memo also came one month before Special Counsel Mueller secured grand jury indictments against twelve Russian military officers for conspiring to interfere with the 2016 election. For me, there are simply too many unanswered questions about what motivated Mr. Barr to send this memo to the Trump Administration and what role it may have played in his nomination to lead the Department of Justice and oversee the Special Counsel’s investigation. I am also troubled that Mr. Barr would not commit to making the Special Counsel’s report public because I believe the truth should be revealed to the American people when the investigation is concluded.

“As I weigh this nomination, I do so with serious concerns about the tenure of Attorney General Sessions and questions about whether Mr. Barr would continue to move in the wrong direction with efforts to roll back equality for LGBTQ Americans, take away guaranteed health protections and raise costs for people with pre-existing conditions, and weaken the Department’s efforts to address police misconduct. He has publicly opposed efforts at meaningful criminal justice and sentencing reform, spoken out in support of the President’s discriminatory travel ban, and equivocated when questioned about a woman’s constitutionally-guaranteed reproductive rights. I am unconvinced that he would lead the Justice Department in the right direction and advance its mission to protect the civil and constitutional rights of all Americans.

“I do not have the confidence I need that this nominee to be America’s top law enforcement official will provide the independence we must have at this critical time.”

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