Nadler Statement on the Nomination of William Barr for Attorney General

Dec 7, 2018 Issues: Government Oversight, Russia Investigation

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, released the following statement after President Donald Trump nominated William Barr to serve as Attorney General:

“I have a number of very serious concerns regarding William Barr’s nomination as Attorney General, including, but not limited to, his criticism of Special Counsel Mueller’s team, his defense of the firing of former FBI Director Comey, and his support for launching yet another investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails.  Against the context of the firing of Attorney General Sessions because of his failure to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, Mr. Barr must lay out a series of steps he will take to ensure the independence of Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation, including pledging that he will not terminate Mr. Mueller absent “extraordinary improprieties” and promising to release any and all of the Special Counsel’s reports to Congress.”

“Beyond that, I need to be clear that this nomination does absolutely nothing to alleviate the concerns I have with Mr. Whitaker’s designation as Acting Attorney General, absent any Senate review of his qualifications.  I continue to have a number of additional concerns regarding his appointment, including whether it is lawful, his public statements questioning Mr. Mueller’s investigation, and a myriad of ongoing and unresolved ethics-related issues relating to Mr. Whitaker.  These concerns and questions are noted in the many letters we have sent to Mr. Whitaker and the Department of Justice, which remain unanswered.”

On November 7, 2018, Ranking Member Nadler issued a statement condemning the firing of Attorney General Sessions as consistent with “a clear pattern of interference from President Donald Trump.”

On Nov 8, 2018, Ranking Member Nadler led House Judiciary Committee Democrats in sending letters to Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) regarding the firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions by President Donald Trump in what appears to be a clear effort to change the supervisory structure for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing criminal investigation.

On November 8, 2018, Reps. Nadler, Schiff, and Cummings and Sen. Feinstein sent letters to top Administration officials demanding the preservation of all documents and materials relevant to the work of the Office of the Special Counsel or the firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

On November 12, 2018, Ranking Member Nadler and other top House Democrats joined Senate Democrats on a letter to the Department of Justice’s Chief Ethics Official, Assistant Attorney General Lee J. Lofthus. In the letter, they outline the number of serious ethical considerations that should preclude any involvement by President Trump’s handpicked Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker with the Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation, and that require Mr. Whitaker’s immediate recusal. In the letter, the Democrats also request that the Department of Justice’s chief ethics officer immediately notify them whether he has advised Mr. Whitaker to recuse himself from supervision of the special counsel’s investigation.

On November 13, 2018, Ranking Member Nadler sent a letter to acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker and FBI Director Christopher Wray notifying them of his expectation, when Democrats take the Majority in the new year, that the Department of Justice and the FBI will have already addressed the backlog of unanswered requests that have been made concerning legitimate oversight matters under the Committee’s jurisdiction. Over the last two years, House Judiciary Committee Democrats have written over one hundred letters to the Administration.

On November 14, 2018, Reps. Nadler, Cummings, Frank Pallone, Jr., and Schiff sent seven letters requesting information relating to Acting Attorney General Matthew G. Whitaker’s involvement with World Patent Marketing, a company that allegedly bilked millions from consumers and suppressed criticism of their activities.

On November 15, 2018, Ranking Member Nadler, Ranking Member Feinstein, and Ranking Member Schiff released a statement criticizing the Office of Legal Counsel opinion that attempts to justify the appointment of Matthew Whitaker.

On November 20, 2018, Ranking Members Nadler and Cummings had a joint call with Acting Attorney General Whitaker. In the course of the call, the Acting Attorney General committed to appearing before the House Judiciary Committee in January and affirmed that he was and will continue to follow all of the regulations, policies and procedures of the Department of Justice, including with regards to the Special Counsel investigation.

On December 6, 2018, Ranking Member Nadler and other top House Democrats joined Senate Democrats on another letter demanding an in-person briefing from the Department of Justice’s Chief Ethics Official, Assistant Attorney General Lee J. Lofthus.

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