Trump's AG pick to pledge protection for Mueller's Russia probe: testimony

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s attorney general nominee William Barr will pledge at his confirmation hearing on Tuesday to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia and will let the public know about the probe’s findings, according to prepared testimony released Monday. “I believe it is vitally important that the Special Counsel be allowed to complete his investigation,” Barr said in prepared remarks. “I believe it is in the best interest of everyone – the President, Congress, and, most importantly, the American people – that this matter be resolved by allowing the Special Counsel to complete his work.” Barr, a former attorney general under President George H.W. Bush, has come under criticism from Democrats after revelations that in June he sent Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein a lengthy unsolicited legal memo that called Mueller’s probe into whether Trump obstructed justice “fatally misconceived.” Barr’s nomination has broad support by most Senate Republicans. However, he is expected to receive tough questions during two days of confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee that start on Tuesday morning, including questions about why he wrote the memo and whether he will agree to make Mueller’s findings public once the probe concludes. Mueller is investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, possible collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign and potential obstruction of justice. Russia has denied U.S. intelligence agencies’ findings that it meddled in the 2016 campaign, while Trump has denied any collusion with Moscow and called Mueller’s probe a “witch hunt.” In his testimony, Barr said he has known Mueller professionally for 30 years and has confidence in his abilities. “If confirmed, I will not permit partisan politics, personal interests, or any other improper consideration to interfere with this or any other investigation,” Barr said in his written remarks. “I will follow the Special Counsel regulations scrupulously and in good faith, and on my watch, Bob will be allowed to complete his work.”

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