Barr Won’t Commit To Following Ethics Staff’s Advice On Russia Probe Recusal

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Attorney general nominee William Barr on Tuesday declined to unconditionally follow the advice of Justice Department ethics officials on whether he should recuse himself from oversight of the Russia probe, as former Attorney General Jeff Sessions did and as Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker notably declined to do.

“Will you commit, if confirmed, to both seeking and following the advice of the department’s career ethics officials on whether you must recuse from the special counsel’s investigation?” Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) asked Barr during Barr’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Barr committed to seeking the advice of ethics personnel, but drew a notable line.

“Under the regulations, I make the decision, as the head of the agency, as to my own recusal,” he said. “So I certainly would consultant with them, and at the end of the day, I would make a decision in good faith based on the laws and the facts that are evident at that time.”

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