Two of the three Senate Democrats who crossed the aisle to vote in favor of confirming Attorney General William Barr have now said that they regret their votes, Politico reports. The two senators, Doug Jones and Joe Manchin, are known as moderate Democrats in the Senate and are often looked to during close votes to deliver votes in line with the Republicans.
Regardless, the pair are now expressing second thoughts in response to how the attorney general has so far conducted himself when it comes to the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Jones described himself recently as “greatly, greatly disappointed in what I am seeing in the attorney general.”
“I also thought he would bring this institutional stability to the Department of Justice — and not be the president’s personal lawyer,” he went on to say. “And he seems like he is moving and has moved toward a less independent role.”
As for Manchin, a similar sentiment was expressed.
“Absolutely, I have buyer’s remorse,” he said when asked if he would second guess his vote if concerns pan out about apparent discrepancies between Mueller and Barr’s versions of events leading up to the release of the report. “I would have made a big mistake.”
Manchin has since called on Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham to bring Mueller in for a hearing to help determine the facts of the matter, but Graham has so far been clear that he has no intent do do anything of the sort.
Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, the third Democrat who voted in favor of Barr’s confirmation, has asked for a meeting with Barr to discuss the discrepancies, but has otherwise not shared publicly any feelings about her confirmation vote.
Critics of the Senators’ aisle-crossing confirmation votes point out that Barr’s behavior surrounding the release of the report was largely predictable, and in fact, was likely the reason that he was nominated in the first place, as The Inquisitr covered following Barr’s confirmation.
Barr, during his confirmation hearings, assured the Senate and the public that he would not allow political motivations to influence the Justice Department under his leadership. When pressed by Democrats on the specific issue of the special counsel investigation, however, he was less forceful. He made no clear commitment that at the conclusion of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, he would make the report’s findings public, sparking concerns that he could attempt to conceal the results of the report.