For the time being, Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker will remain in charge of the department - and the Mueller investigation.
In their opposition, Democrats cited a memo Barr wrote previous year to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein before he was nominated objecting to the obstruction aspect of the Mueller probe as "fatally misconceived" and said, "Mueller should not be permitted to demand that the President submit to interrogation about alleged obstruction". Democratic Senators on the Judiciary Committee grilled Barr on issues relating to the Mueller probe and executive privilege, criminal justice policy, immigration, and more.
Barr has declined to offer a firm guarantee that he would release Mueller's report in its entirety - noting that the regulations governing Mueller's appointment do not call for that.
The committee, controlled by Republicans, voted 12-10 along party lines to advance Barr's nomination.
Attorney General nominee William Barr met with several senators on January 29.
Sen. Dick Durbin of IL, meanwhile, said in meeting with Barr, he thought Barr was a "good person" who reminded him of former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, said Thursday.
The top Democrat on the Judiciary panel, California Sen.
"At a time when our shared principles of equal protection and civil rights for all are under assault, we need an Attorney General who will rise to the challenge of defending them".
"This memo is of serious concern to me and appears to be seminal in his appointment to this position", Feinstein said.
Trump had repeatedly criticized Sessions for recusing himself from Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election that includes examining the ties between Russia and the Trump campaign.
Barr broke with Trump in saying, "I don't believe Mr. Mueller would be involved in a witch hunt", a term Trump frequently used to decry the probe.
Graham said that if Barr were to prevent release of a report by Mueller, he would support legislation being pushed by Senators Chuck Grassley, Republican of Iowa, to require full transparency from the Special Counsel. "And I think we have to get to the bottom of it", Barr said.