Attorney General Bill Barr. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

The Senate voted 54-45 on Thursday to confirm President Trump’s attorney general nominee William Barr.

Why it matters: Barr will oversee special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. In a memo he drafted before he was nominated, Barr argued that "Mueller's theory" that the president may have obstructed justice by firing FBI Director Jim Comey is "fatally misconceived," prompting concerns from Democratic lawmakers about potential conflicts of interest.

Details: The Democrats who voted for Barr's confirmation were Sens. Doug Jones (Ala.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.). The Republican who voted against Barr's confirmation was Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.).

  • Barr sought to reassure lawmakers in his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last month, saying he would work to provide "as much transparency as possible" into Mueller's conclusions, and that it would be "a breach of his constitutional duties" if Trump tried to intervene to protect himself.
  • However, Barr also stated that he would not recuse himself from overseeing the probe if he disagreed with ethics officials' recommendations that he do so.

Go deeper: Barr says that Mueller probe is not a "witch hunt" in Senate testimony

Go deeper

Updated 11 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of noon ET: 20,391,697 — Total deaths: 744,211— Total recoveries: 12,625,076Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 a.m. ET: 5,161,612 — Total deaths: 164,690 — Total recoveries: 1,714,960 — Total tests: 63,252,257Map.
  3. Business: U.S. already feeling effects of ending unemployment benefits — U.S. producer prices rose last month by the most since October 2018.
  4. Public health: America is flying blind on its coronavirus response.
  5. Education: Gallup: America's confidence in public school system jumps to highest level since 2004.
  6. World: Lebanon reports coronavirus record, UN warns Beirut blast may drive cases higher
40 mins ago - World

U.S. threatens to veto UN peacekeeping in Lebanon over Hezbollah concerns

Peacekeepers with Lebanese troops in southern Lebanon. Photo: Jalaa Marey/AFP via Getty

The Trump administration is threatening to veto a resolution to extend the UN's long-standing peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon if its mandate isn't changed, Israeli and U.S. officials tell me.

Why it matters: The U.S. is the main funder of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which has an annual budget of $250 million. The veto threat is a tactical move, and part of a broader effort to put pressure on Iran and its proxy in Lebanon, Hezbollah.

Trump congratulates QAnon conspiracy theorist on GOP runoff win

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump on Wednesday tweeted congratulations to Marjorie Taylor Greene, a vocal QAnon conspiracy theorist who won the Republican nomination in Georgia's deep-red 14th Congressional District runoff.

Why it matters: The president's approval illustrates how the once-fringe conspiracy theory has gained ground within the GOP. Greene is among the at least 11 GOP candidates for Congress who have openly supported or defended the QAnon movement or some of its tenets, per Axios' Jacob Knutson.