Barr Refuses To Bend When Kamala Harris Presses Him on Mueller Investigation Recusal


President Donald Trump’s attorney general nominee William Barr refused to commit to recusing himself from the Mueller investigation when pressed by Sen. Kamala Harris on the matter.

During Tuesday’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Harris followed up on a line of questioning by her Democratic colleague Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont whether Barr would follow the advice DOJ ethics officials regarding recusal.

“I will seek the advice of the career ethics personnel, but under the regulations, I make the decision as the head of the agency as to my own recusal,” Barr told Leahy, according to The Washington Post.

Harris tweeted a video of her exchange with Barr on the issue calling his answer “absolutely unacceptable.”

“Would it be appropriate to go against the advice of career ethics officials that have recommended recusal, and can you give an example that under what situation or scenario you would go against their recommendation that you recuse yourself?” Harris asked Barr.

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“There are different kinds of recusals. Some are mandated if you have a financial interest, but there are others that are judgment calls,” he responded.

The California senator wondered what he would do if the judgment of the DOJ ethics office was he should recuse. “Under what scenario would you not follow their recommendation?” she asked.

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“If I disagreed with it,” Barr answered.

Harris wanted to know “on what basis” he would reach such a judgment.

“The facts,” was his terse reply.

The rumored 2020 presidential hopeful then questioned Barr specifically if DOJ ethics officials decided he should recuse himself from overseeing the Mueller investigation under what scenario he wouldn’t follow their advice.

“If I disagreed with them,” the nominee said.

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When Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal also pushed Barr on overseeing the Mueller investigation, he responded, “I am not going to surrender my responsibilities.”

“I’m not going to make a pledge to anyone on this committee that I’m going to exercise it in a particular way or surrender it.”

On the counsel of DOJ ethics officials, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from overseeing the Russia investigation a little over a month after taking office in January 2017, which became a source of frustration for Trump.

Barr told the senators on Tuesday, Sessions “probably did the right thing recusing himself,” given his circumstances. The former Alabama senator was an early Trump supporter and campaign surrogate.

CNBC reported that Democrats’ concerns about Barr overseeing the Mueller investigation arise from a 19-page memo he wrote and submitted to the Justice Department last June questioning whether the special counsel’s reputed inquiry into possible obstruction of justice by Trump in the firing of FBI director James Comey was legally sound.

In the memo, Barr described this theory of incriminating Trump as being “premised on a novel and legally insupportable reading of the law,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

“I know you will agree that, if a DOJ investigation is going to take down a democratically-elected President, it is imperative to the health of our system and to our national cohesion that any claim of wrongdoing is solidly based on evidence of a real crime — not a debatable one,” he added.

“It is time to travel well-worn paths; not to veer into novel, unsettled or contested areas of the law; and not to indulge the fancies by overly-zealous prosecutors.”

Barr was unanimously confirmed in 1991 to serve as attorney general under George H.W. Bush.

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 2,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Graduated dean's list from West Point
United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law
Books Written
We Hold These Truths
Professional Memberships
Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment, Faith