On Sunday, Republican Senator Rand Paul slammed Donald Trump’s decision to nominate William Barr to the position of Attorney General. The Kentucky Senator heavily criticized Barr’s views on surveilling Americans, referring to them as “very, very troubling,” according to Yahoo! News.
While appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press, Rand Paul discussed his concerns with voting to confirm Barr.
“I’m concerned that he’s been a big supporter of the Patriot Act, which lowered the standard for spying on Americans,” he told host Chuck Todd. “And he even went so far as to say, you know, the Patriot Act was pretty good, but we should go much further.”
Paul has long been a passionate opponent of the Patriot Act, which was enacted following the attacks of September 11. It granted the United States government extended powers when it came to surveillance of American citizens.
Back in 2015, Paul spoke on the Senate floor for nearly 11 hours against reauthorizing the Patriot Act. Barr’s support of this act could prove a major roadblock in getting Paul to vote to confirm his nomination.
For his part, Paul claims that he has not yet made a decision on what his vote will be regarding the confirmation vote.
“I can tell you, the first things that I’ve learned about him being for more surveillance of Americans is very, very troubling,” he told Todd.
Despite Paul’s reservations about Barr, many believe that the road to his confirmation will be relatively uneventful. Senator Lindsey Graham from South Carolina, speaking with ‘Sunday Morning Futures,’ pointed out Barr’s successful confirmation record.
“He’s been confirmed three times. He’s been the former attorney general for Bush 41, the deputy attorney general in charge of the criminal division. And each time, he was confirmed by voice vote.”
William Barr has already served as attorney general under President George H. W. Bush from 1991 to 1993. Since he left the government, Barr has worked in the private sector. Barr had previously been offered the job as Trump’s chief defense attorney in the probe headed by special counsel Robert Mueller. According to reports, Barr declined the offer.
These allegations may very well come up in the confirmation hearings. Barr was nominated to return to the position of attorney general by Trump on Friday. He would replace acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker.
Barr has publicly stated that he believes there should have been a deeper investigation into Hillary Clinton. He also supported former FBI Director James Comey’s decision to announce his investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email use to Congress in the days leading up to the 2016 election.