NORTH CAROLINA -- As part of his confirmation hearing, the president's pick for Attorney General was asked to weigh in Tuesday on the latest headlines from North Carolina's ongoing 9th congressional district saga.
- William Barr was asked about previous questionable activities in the 9th district months ahead of the 2018 midterms.
- The elephant in the room was invariably the Russia investigation and the special counsel probe.
- With Republicans firmly in control of the Senate, Barr's confirmation is on track and he stands a good chance of being confirmed to the post.
"I want to make one of my priorities the integrity of elections," said William Barr, responding to a question from Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.
In her question, Klobuchar seemed to refer to a recent story in the Washington Post, which suggested that the Department of Justice was informed about previous questionable activities in the 9th district months ahead of the 2018 midterms.
"When I get to the department, if I’m confirmed, I’m going to start working with the people and making sure those kinds of things don’t happen," Barr responded.
This was just one exchange in a day-long confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. While lawmakers touched on a variety of topics with the nominee, the elephant in the room was invariably the Russia investigation and the special counsel probe.
Over the summer, Barr, who previously served as AG under President George H. W. Bush, wrote a memo where he criticized the obstruction of justice case Robert Mueller may pursue against the President.
Trying to ease Democratic concerns, Barr said, "It is vitally important that the Special Counsel to be allowed to complete his investigation."
He also dismissed claims that the Mueller probe is a "witch hunt" and said he would not fire the special counsel without cause.
Democrats meanwhile urged Barr to resist political pressures.
"You must have the integrity, the strength and the fortitude to tell the president ‘no’ regardless of the consequences," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.
Sen. Thom Tillis who serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee was also given time to ask questions. He spent much of his allotted time allowing Barr to clarify himself - that includes clarifying comments he made earlier in the hearing.
"Have you ever gone on record as opposing any of the of things we’re trying to do to figure out where Russia may have been involved in election tampering?" Tillis asked.
"No," Barr replied.
With Republicans firmly in control of the Senate, Barr's confirmation is on track and he stands a good chance of being confirmed to the post.