barr confirmation
January 15, 2019

President Trump's attorney general nominee, William Barr, was grilled for hours on Capitol Hill — yet plenty of Congress' key questions remained without definitive answers.

With hedging language thrown around left and right, here are some of the most non-committal responses from Barr so far that leave how he might act as attorney general somewhat unclear.

1. Barr didn't offer much in the way of his interpretation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution and how it might relate to President Trump, saying that there's a "dispute as to what the emoluments clause relates to" and that he has "not personally researched the emoluments clause" and "couldn't even tell you what it says," per Vox.

2. When asked to commit that the Justice Department under his leadership wouldn't "jail reporters for doing their jobs," Barr avoided doing so, saying he "can conceive of situations" where reporters might be imprisoned as a "last resort," The Daily Beast reports.

3. Asked about his statement in 1992 that Roe v. Wade will "fall," Barr didn't quite say Tuesday whether he still believes the landmark abortion case had been wrongly decided, but he told senators that the department had "stopped as a routine matter asking that it be overruled" and said "I don't see that being resumed," per CNN.

4. Barr at numerous points during the testimony would not commit to recusing himself from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe if his ethics officials told him to, saying he will not "surrender the responsibility" of the job, says The Washington Post. He also didn't say how much of the report would be made public and didn't commit to explaining potential changes he might make to it, per Talking Points Memo.

5. When Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) asked Barr whether waterboarding is torture, he said that he would "have to look at the legal definition" but that "right now, it's prohibited," per Vox. Brendan Morrow

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