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The Latest: Key senator brushes off memo on Mueller probe

December 20, 2018

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on William Barr, the president’s nominee for attorney general (all times local):

12 p.m.

The incoming Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee says he is “not personally” concerned with a memo written by attorney general nominee William Barr that criticized the special counsel’s investigation into President Donald Trump.

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told The Associated Press that Barr has a “right to give an opinion” regarding legal matters without it sinking his nomination.

Graham said of the memo: “Some of it I agree with. I’m not so sure I agree with all of the analysis, but it’s pretty sound.”

Barr in the unsolicited memo to the Justice Department criticized special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether Trump obstructed justice. The memo is expected to become a contentious issue when the Judiciary Committee considers his nomination next year.

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9:30 a.m.

President Donald Trump’s pick for attorney general, William Barr, criticized an aspect of the special counsel’s Russia investigation in an unsolicited memo he sent to the Justice Department.

The document was sent in June and expresses concern with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether Trump obstructed justice, which Trump denies. It could factor into Barr’s confirmation hearings and prompt questions about whether he can be unbiased in overseeing the investigation.

Barr’s memo argues there’d be disastrous consequences for the Justice Department and the presidency if Mueller were to conclude that acts a president is legally permitted to take could constitute obstruction just because someone concluded there was corrupt intent.

The Wall Street Journal was first to report on the memo.

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