The Senate has officially confirmed William Barr as attorney general.
Barr, whose appointment President Trump announced in December, was confirmed by the Senate in 54-45 a vote Thursday. He takes over for Matthew Whitaker, who served as acting attorney general for three months following the departure of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Barr previously served as attorney general under former President George H.W. Bush.
Barr did not earn universal Republican support, with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) voting against him. Paul had announced his decision earlier this week and called Barr "the chief advocate for warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens," per Politico. However, Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), Joe Manchin (W.V.), and Doug Jones (Ala.) did vote to confirm Barr, breaking with their colleagues.
In his confirmation hearing last month, Barr pledged that Special Counsel Robert Mueller will be allowed to finish his investigation. "If confirmed, I will not permit partisan politics, personal interests, or any other improper consideration to interfere with this or any other investigation," he told senators, per CNN.
Barr, however, did not specify how much of Mueller's report would eventually be made public, nor did he say he would definitely explain any changes he makes to it, although he said doing so would be his "intent," as Talking Points Memo reported. Brendan Morrow