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Trump's Pick For Attorney General Goes Before Senate Committee Tuesday

Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump's choice to lead the Justice Department, William Barr, is likely to enter a contentious scene when he answers questions from lawmakers beginning Tuesday morning.

Barr, who previously served as attorney general under President George H.W. Bush, is scheduled to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee for his confirmation hearing.

Senators are sure to question him about a number of legal issues, but his opinions on special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation may dominate major portions of the hearing.

Barr attempted to reassure those worried by his criticism of Mueller's office by releasing written testimony on Monday in which he vowed to permit Mueller to complete his work investigating the Russian attack on the 2016 election.

Mueller is determining whether any Americans played any role in that attack and The New York Times has reported that may include a direct look at Trump himself. Speaking to reporters Monday, the president denied that he has been trying to conceal details about his discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin after a pair of explosive press reports over the weekend.

"I never worked for Russia," Trump said. "It's a disgrace that you even asked that question because it's a whole big fat hoax. It's just a hoax." The White House press secretary also called The New York Times report "absurd," and on Twitter Monday the president even advised journalists covering him to "Take two weeks off and come back rested. Chill!"

In his written testimony, Barr said it was "very important" for the public and Congress to see the results of the Mueller investigation.

"If confirmed, I will not permit partisan politics, personal interests, or any other improper consideration to interfere with this or any other investigation," Barr wrote.

Trump needs no Democratic Senate votes for his nominee to be confirmed, as Republicans hold a 53-47 advantage in the chamber, and Cabinet nominees require just a simple majority.

Based on the comments made by members of Congress in meetings with Barr ahead of Tuesday's hearing, Barr appears to be on track to take the top job at the Justice Department.

If confirmed, Barr would take the reins of the Justice Department from acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker who was tapped by Trump after the ouster of Jeff Sessions in November of last year. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who has been supervising the Mueller investigation since Mueller's appointment as special counsel, is expected to leave his post at DOJ after Barr's confirmation so that Barr can select his own deputy.

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