Donald Trump’s nominee for the post of United States attorney general pledged in written testimony, revealed Monday, that he would not fire special counsel Robert Mueller “without good cause,” according to an Associated Press report. But Barr also made a startling admission in the written testimony.
In his written answers, Barr admitted that he has discussed the Russia investigation with Vice President Mike Pence, and has had conversations with Pence about Mueller’s investigation going back to the spring of 2017, according to an Associated Press account. The admission could raise questions about Barr’s ability to remain impartial in his role overseeing the Russia investigation, should he be confirmed by the Senate to the position of attorney general.
But Barr also said in the written answers that he has never discussed the Russia probe with Trump himself, the New York Times reported.
“The president has not asked me my views about any aspect of the investigation, and he has not asked me about what I would do about anything in the investigation,” Barr wrote in response to questions posed by Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, per the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The possibility remains that Pence acted as an intermediary for Trump in discussing the Russia probe with Barr. Barr described those conversations simply as a “general discussion of the special counsel’s investigation in which I gave my views on such matters as Bob Mueller’s high integrity and various media reports,” Barr wrote in answer to questions from Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, per the Senate Judiciary Committee. “In these conversations, I did not provide legal advice, nor, to the best of my recollection, did he provide confidential information.”
Barr said that he would resign rather than follow an order from Trump to fire Mueller without “good cause,” according to the AP report. He also pledged that he would not attempt to rewrite Justice Department rules in order to allow the firing of Mueller without that same “good cause.”
Barr has described himself as close personal friends with Mueller, a revelation that has caused Trump to “bristle,” as the Inquisitr reported.
Barr’s answers covered a wide range of other topics as well. Following the end of the 35-day partial government shutdown on Friday, Trump said on Twitter that in three weeks he would order a start to construction of a border wall — even if Congress continued to refuse to allocate funds for the project. But in answers to California Senator Dianne Feinstein, per the Senate Judiciary Committee, Barr said that, “as a general proposition,” Trump could not go around Congress to allocate funds on his own.