Colorado’s two U.S. Senators took opposite stances today in the U.S. Senate’s vote to confirm William Barr as U.S. Attorney General, with Democrat Michael Bennet opposing Barr and Republican Cory Gardner supporting the Trump nominee.
Bennet called Barr’s views “deeply concerning.”
“Mr. Barr’s expansive view of executive power and overly narrow view of what constitutes obstruction of justice, as detailed in his unsolicited memo, are deeply concerning in this context,” said Bennet in a statement. “Mr. Barr’s record also casts serious doubt on his commitment to the Department of Justice’s mission to protect the civil rights of every American, including voting rights. I am not confident Mr. Barr will provide the leadership our nation needs, and for that reason, I opposed his nomination.”
Gardner (R-CO) announced Feb. 6 that he would support Barr, citing conversations with him about the Gold King Mine spill, marijuana issues, and intellectual property issues. Barr has said the Department of Justice should not pursue legal pot operations.
Progressives worry that Gardner and others who voted for Barr today aren’t doing enough to prevent Barr from meddling in Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation or not releasing Mueller’s final report.
“It is very disappointing that despite Sen. Cory Gardner’s lip service in support of the Special Counsel, Gardner failed to put his words into action by confirming a skeptic and Trump ally to lead the Justice Department,” said Ian Silverii, director of ProgressNow Colorado, a statewide progressive organization, in a news release. “In his confirmation hearing, Barr gave no indication that the public will ever see the full report on the investigation.
“If Cory Gardner means anything he says about getting the truth on Trump and Russia, he must demand that immediate passage of the Special Counsel Transparency Act,” said Silverii.
U.S. Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) also supported the nomination, saying in Politico, “When it comes to Bill Barr, I can only tell my Democratic colleagues there is nobody better that I know to recommend to you. This is as good as it gets on our side.”
Addressing Barr’s opponents who’ve been concerned that the nominee’s treatment of Mueller, Graham reportedly said Barr would “err on the side of transparency.”