Senator Harris Opposes Nomination of William Barr to be Attorney General
This week, at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I pressed the nominee for Attorney General, William Barr – and I need to tell you, I’ve got some serious concerns.
The Attorney General is entrusted with ensuring the fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans. With the rule of law under daily attack from the President of the United States himself, that sacred trust is more important than ever.
After two days of confirmation hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee, I do not believe that William Barr is the right person to hold this vital position at this critical time.
With the government shut down over the President’s demand for a border wall and asylum-seeking families detained at the border, Mr. Barr continues to support an ineffective and draconian approach to border security. With a criminal justice system that disproportionately harms communities of color, Mr. Barr continues to express support for the same failed policies he encouraged in the 1990s when he effectively advocated for mass incarceration. And with Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election at a critical moment, Mr. Barr refused to commit to recusing himself—even if career ethics officials at the Department of Justice recommended he do so.
I appreciate the commitments Mr. Barr made, including a willingness to reconsider DOJ’s attacks on Americans’ healthcare coverage, to provide a list of consent decrees that have been withdrawn by DOJ and any consent decree he may withdraw, to respect state laws legalizing marijuana, and to vigorously enforce voting rights. I fully intend to hold him to these commitments should he become the Attorney General.
While I respect Mr. Barr’s past public service, I do not believe he will defend independent investigations from attacks, embrace a smart on crime approach to public safety, and ensure equal protection under the law for every single American.
Take a closer look and watch why we cannot confirm him.
Kamala D. Harris United States Senator
First Round of Questioning:
Watch Senator Harris question AG Nominee Barr. I pressed AG nominee Barr on his suggestion that we need “barriers” across the border to deal with drug trafficking. The truth is most drugs trafficked into the U.S. come through ports of entry, and a wall isn’t what we need to solve this problem. -Senator Kamala D. Harris
Senator Harris began her questioning by inquiring about whether he would follow the recommendation of career Department of Justice ethics officials on recusal from the Special Counsel’s investigation—a practice former Attorney General Sessions abided by during his tenure. In response to Barr’s insistence that he would not recuse himself if he personally disagreed with ethics officials’ recommendation, Senator Harris sought clarification on why precisely he might disregard that guidance. In response to Senator Harris’ further questioning about border security and drug trafficking, Barr acknowledged that despite President Trump’s demand of a wall, most drugs trafficked into the United States from Mexico come through a port of entry. Senator Harris followed up by asking about Barr’s experience visiting ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Second Round of Questioning:
Watch Senator Harris question AG Nominee Barr.
AG nominee Barr said he would go against the recommendation of career ethics officials and refuse to recuse himself from the Special Counsel’s investigation if he ‘disagreed with them.’ That’s absolutely unacceptable. -Senator Kamala D. Harris
In a second round of questioning, Senator Harris secured a commitment from Barr to reconsider the Department of Justice’s current position in support of litigation that, if ultimately successful, would strip health care coverage from millions of Americans and eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Under questioning from Senator Harris, Barr further committed to providing the committee with a list of all consent decrees between the Department of Justice and local governments that were withdrawn under Attorney General Sessions and committed to keeping the committee updated on any consent decrees he would withdraw from if confirmed. Senator Harris also asked Barr about recent actions President Trump may have taken in violation of the Presidential Records Act.