Trump AG pick won’t meet with Democrats ‘because of the shutdown’ despite meeting with 5 Republicans – ThinkProgress

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William Barr, President Donald Trump’s decide for legal professional basic who has a historical past of echoing Trump’s rhetoric, is scheduled for a Senate affirmation listening to on Tuesday.

Cupboard nominees sometimes meet with senators from each events who shall be a part of their affirmation course of.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee that can oversee Barr’s try to develop into legal professional basic for the second time, stated on Wednesday that Democrats are being prevented from assembly with the nominee prematurely of his affirmation listening to.

“I’ve all the time met with main cupboard members below each the Obama administration in addition to the Trump administration,” Klobuchar informed MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes. “I’ve met with the pinnacle of the Botanical Gardens — who’s not on the cupboard, in fact. I’ve met with the nominee for the Patent Workplace, Chris. However we are able to’t have a gathering with the nominee for one of the essential cupboard positions whereas this Mueller investigation is happening earlier than the listening to. And I simply assume that’s fallacious.”

After Hayes requested the Minnesota Democrat for clarification about what she was informed relating to Barr’s schedule, Klobuchar replied, “They stated that I might meet him after the listening to — due to the shutdown that they weren’t in a position to do the assembly, which we all know is fairly ironic on condition that we’ve got TSA officers who’re on the market, and FBI and different authorities staff who’re out doing their job now with out pay or are furloughed.”

Nonetheless, the continued authorities shutdown didn’t cease Trump’s legal professional basic nominee from assembly with a number of Senate Judiciary Republicans on Wednesday.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) shared pictures with Barr on social media.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) tweeted out a picture from their assembly.

Barr additionally frolicked with Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Ben Sasse (R-NE).

When Hayes identified that Barr had met with a number of Republicans from the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, Klobuchar stated, “He did. However he was not in a position to meet with us till after the listening to — or a minimum of with me. And I feel Senator Blumenthal had additionally made a request.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) confirmed that the Justice Division supplied him a gathering with Barr solely after his affirmation listening to.

“William Barr’s refusal to fulfill with Democratic Senators on the Judiciary Committee is completely unprecedented and unacceptable,” stated Blumenthal in a press release on Wednesday. “The Division of Justice’s try to excuse this gross break within the norms by citing a ‘truncated schedule’ is galling when they’re those who’ve rushed it.”

After assembly with Barr on Wednesday, Graham — who’s changing Grassley as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee — informed reporters that Trump’s legal professional basic nominee sees “no purpose for Mr. Mueller to cease doing his job, and is dedicated to permitting Mr. Mueller to complete.”

Barr, the legal professional basic below President George H.W. Bush from 1991 to 1993, despatched a 19-page memo to the DOJ in June that criticized particular counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference within the 2016 U.S. election. Klobuchar referred to that memo as “a tryout for this job the place he mainly espoused this very expansive view of govt energy that jogs my memory a few of what we noticed within the [Supreme Court Justice Brett] Kavanaugh hearings” on Wednesday.

The previous legal professional basic has echoed a lot of Trump’s rhetoric on the partisan make-up of Mueller’s probe, investigating former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the president’s firing of former FBI director James Comey.

Barr, who urged Bush to situation pardons over the Iran-Contra scandal that occurred whereas the latter was vp, has additionally defended Trump’s capacity to personally order DOJ investigations.

Appearing Legal professional Basic Matthew Whitaker, one other outspoken critic of Mueller’s investigation, arrange a system to bypass DOJ ethics officers on recusal from the Russia probe. Whitaker has been serving as appearing legal professional basic since Trump fired former Legal professional Basic Jeff Classes the day after Democrats flipped the Home in November’s midterms.

A number of shops reported on Wednesday that Deputy Legal professional Basic Rod Rosenstein — who has overseen the Russia investigation since Classes recused himself in March 2017, only a month into Trump’s presidency — is planning on stepping down as soon as a brand new legal professional basic is confirmed.

“However we’re able to go subsequent week, Chris, and I’ll have plenty of good questions,” Klobuchar promised about Barr’s upcoming affirmation listening to on the finish of Wednesday’s MSNBC look.

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