Feb 14, 2019

Senate confirms William Barr as attorney general

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 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. enters 6th day of nationwide protests over George Floyd's killing

A protest in Philadelphia on May 31. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

The D.C. National Guard is being called to assist police with protests, per AP, as protests continue past the city's 11 p.m. curfew.

What's happening: Police fired tear gas into a crowd of over 1,000 people in Washington, D.C.'s Lafayette Square across from the White House one hour before Sunday's 11 p.m. curfew, AP reports. Earlier in the night, protestors held a stand off in Lafayette Square, after previously breaking through a White House police barricade. A fire in the basement of the city's historic St. Johns Church was extinguished.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Journalists get caught in the crosshairs as protests unfold

A man waves a Black Lives Matter flag atop the CNN logo outside the CNN Center during a protest in response to the police killing of George Floyd, Atlanta, Georgia, May 29. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Dozens of journalists across the country tweeted videos Saturday night of themselves and their crews getting arrested, being shot at by police with rubber bullets, targeted with tear gas by authorities or assaulted by protesters.

Driving the news: The violence got so bad over the weekend that on Sunday the Cleveland police said the media was not allowed downtown unless "they are inside their place of business" — drawing ire from news outlets around the country, who argued that such access is a critical part of adequately covering protests.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Tanker truck plows into Minneapolis protesters

The tanker after plowing into protesters on the shut-down bridge in Minneapolis on Sunday evening. Authorities said it appeared protesters escaped injury. Photo: Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Minnesota authorities said in a statement they're investigating as a criminal matter what happened with a truck that "drove into demonstrators" on a Minneapolis bridge Sunday evening while the eight-lane road was closed for a protest.

What they're saying: Minnesota Department of Public Safety tweeted, "Very disturbing actions by a truck driver on I-35W, inciting a crowd of peaceful demonstrators. The truck driver was injured & taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. He is under arrest. It doesn't appear any protesters were hit by the truck."