COLLUSION COLLAPSE: President Trump Reacts to Senate Intel Chair's 'No Collusion' Comments

Democrats eager to press Whitaker on Mueller and Trump

The US Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved President Donald Trump's attorney general nominee, William Barr, and sent his nomination on to the full Senate for a final confirmation vote.

"If the committee's driven based upon the facts that we have at hand, I have a very hard time understanding how you can come to two different conclusions", Burr said during the interview.

Trump had repeatedly criticized Sessions for recusing himself from Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election that includes examining the ties between Russia and the Trump campaign. Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker is now filling the position. At the Judiciary Committee's hearing Thursday, all 10 panel Democrats voted against moving the nomination forward, while all 12 Republicans voted to advance it.

"We need an attorney general who can assure the Senate and the public that he will stand up to a president who believes the Justice Department exists to do his personal bidding and to protect his personal interests", Schumer said in a tweet. "I do not think that any fair-minded person could call Bill Barr a political hack".

"I believe the memo is disqualifying", said Senator Dianne Feinstein, the committee's top Democrat.

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Similarly, Sen. John Neely Kennedy (R-La.) said that the Justice Department would "be better off just disclosing" Mueller's report - but that he was confident the document would be leaked.

Lawmakers have raised questions about a memo Barr wrote to Justice Department leaders questioning what he saw as the "fatally misconceived" theory of Trump obstructing justice that Mueller seemed to be exploring.

Democrats also expressed concern about Barr's memo he sent to the Justice Department a year ago, unsolicited, that detailed presidential power and said Mueller had a "fatally misconceived" theory that Trump committed a crime when he fired a political appointee, FBI Director James B. Comey, because that was in his powers as president. But Grassley said he would support Barr's nomination, despite his reluctance to commit to releasing Mueller's findings.

In his hearing, Barr pledged to release "as much as I can" of Mueller's findings to the public, to provide Mueller with the resources and time to finish the job, to not terminate Mueller without good cause and to notify Congress if he denied a major request during the investigation.

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