On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee, with its new chair, Lindsey Graham, is holding hearings for the nomination of William Barr to become the next Attorney General. No, Barr has not been confirmed yet, but with 53 Republicans, it likely will happen. The hearing has been an oddity from the get-go.
Senator Susan Collins, who is not on the Judiciary Committee, and who cannot be trusted to be a “no” vote on almost anything, noted she was not watching the hearings but will catch up later. Unless four Senators vote “no” from the Republican side of the aisle, Barr will be confirmed. Graham opened up the hearing by stating: “When you look at what [Mr. Barr] has done in his life, it’s incredible. So I want to thank the President for nominating somebody who is worthy of the job, who will understand on day one what the job is about, and can right the ship over there.”
Graham is showing his true colors and what this committee will focus on, suggesting that the office is broken. But for “Corruption by the Kilogram” Graham, it is working fine.
Graham then spent time on texts and the investigation of Donald Trump as a Russian asset. Graham asked Barr if he was familiar with the explosive New York Times story from the weekend that the FBI had opened a counterintelligence investigation into Trump. After Barr responded he had, Graham asked Barr to look into whether this really happened, and Barr agreed to do so. Then Graham asked Barr if he had ever heard of such a thing before, and Barr responded, “No.”
Turning to the Strzok/Page texts, Graham read several and asked for Barr’s reaction. Barr responded that he was “shocked” by them. Barr did state, “I don’t believe Mr. Mueller would be involved in a witch hunt.” Barr did not commit to following the advice of career ethics officials on whether he should recuse himself and indicated strong support for a border wall.
Barr will surely be asked about his memo to Rod Rosenstein and why he wrote it. Absent any serious dirt coming out against Barr, he will be confirmed. But in the meantime, Chairman Graham’s approach and words should remind America that the blue wave of 2016 will not be complete until the Senate turns blue as well. In the meantime, God help us.