Attorney General William Barr Won’t Recuse Himself From Overseeing Mueller Probe

Attorney General William Barr will not recuse himself from overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into allegations of collusion between President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Russian government, a Justice Department spokeswoman said Monday.

Barr’s confirmation for a second stint as the nation’s top law enforcement officer came under scrutiny given his previous statements about the special counsel’s investigation. Barr reportedly sent an “unsolicited memo” to the Justice Department last year, in which he expressed skepticism about parts of Mueller’s investigation. He said that Mueller’s inquiry into potential obstruction of justice by Trump was based on a “fatally misconceived” theory that would threaten the presidency and the executive branch.

During his Senate confirmation hearings last month, Barr refused to say whether he would recuse himself from any role in Mueller’s probe but noted he would allow Mueller to complete his investigation and make as many of its findings public as possible. Barr was confirmed by a vote of 54 to 45 in the Senate. Mueller is widely expected to wrap up his investigation in the comings weeks.

Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said Monday that Barr would not step aside from overseeing Mueller’s inquiry and that the department’s ethics team concurred, CNN reported. Barr previously told lawmakers he would seek counsel from ethics officials on the recusal issue.

“Following General Barr’s confirmation, senior career ethics officials advised that General Barr should not recuse himself from the Special Counsel’s investigation,” Kupec said. “Consistent with that advice, General Barr has decided not to recuse.”

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