Comments by William Barr at his Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday pointedly departed from Trump's own views and underscored Barr's efforts to reassure Democrats that he will not be a loyalist to a president who has appeared to demand it from law enforcement. Barr said he believed Mueller's report would be "confidential", but that as attorney general he would issue a public summary of its findings. And as attorney general in the first Bush administration, Barr supported pardons for former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger and others charged or convicted in the Iran-Contra scandal because, Barr later said, they were "unjustly treated".
Barr also said "it is vitally important" that Mueller be allowed to complete his investigation and that Congress and the public should learn the results.
The meeting was short, and Trump asked him how he knew Robert Mueller III, the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 elections, or of any possible collaboration with Trump associates.
"For that reason, my goal will be to provide as much transparency as I can consistent with the law", Barr said.
"I believe the Russians interfered or attempted to interfere in the election and I think we have to get to the bottom of it", he said.
"I'm not sure. I'd like to know more about the phenomenon and what laws could be implicated by it", Barr said.
He said Trump nonetheless asked for his phone number but "that's the only time I met him before I talked to him about the job of attorney general - which obviously is not the same as representing him".
Durbin, like the rest of his colleagues on the committee, said he has not yet reached a conclusion on Barr. "After Mr. Trump offered him the job, Mr. Barr briefly told the president that he had written a memo about aspects of the Russian Federation probe that could spur questions during his confirmation hearing, according to a person familiar with the process", the Journal reported.
Trump suggests 'full Indian garb' for Warren's husband in renewed attack
Warren, a former Harvard Law School professor, campaigned in 2016 with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Army forces, led by General George Custer, were beaten back by Native Americans, and 268 U.S. soldiers were killed.
Beyond working together, Barr and Mueller have remained in each other's orbit during their long stints in private law practice in Washington.
In his written testimony, Barr told senators that his memo had been "narrow in scope" and that it addressed only "a specific obstruction-of-justice theory under a single statute that I thought, based on media reports, the Special Counsel might be considering".
In perhaps the biggest takeaway of the day, Barr confirmed an answer he had already given to the Senate in writing: While he will consult with ethics officials about whether to recuse from investigations, including those involving the president, he did not pledge to follow their guidance.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham (R-SC) wasted no time addressing the main concerns of critics about William Barr, the president's nominee to replace Jeff Sessions as attorney general.
Barr stressed he would be independent and not interfere in the Mueller probe. The committee's new chairman, Lindsey Graham of SC, expressed outrage over extensive communications between two Federal Bureau of Investigation agents during the 2016 presidential campaign that showed extreme bias and prejudice against Trump.
President Trump's nominee for attorney general was in the hot seat Tuesday. "I don't need the title", he said.
"Anybody who auditions to join an administration like this, I have concerns about for them to just come and say forget all that", Hirono said. He was questioned about an unsolicited memo he wrote past year that called Mueller's case "fatally misconceived" for examining whether Trump obstructed justice by firing the Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey.