Senate confirms William Barr as attorney general

The Senate confirmed William P. Barr as the new attorney general Thursday, giving President Trump a new top cop and special counsel Robert Mueller a new overseer. Analysts said they expect Mr. Barr to be a steadying presence — and doubted there will be much of a shift in course from former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “Both Sessions and Barr are very tough on crime, law enforcement-minded people on issues like drug offenses and immigration, so there is not much light or space between them,” said Jimmy Gurule, a University of Notre Dame law professor who was an assistant attorney general under Mr. Barr during his first term as attorney general, for President George H.W. Bush. Mr. Barr was approved on a 54-45 vote, with only a few Democrats voting in favor, and just one Republican opposed. He was sworn in at the White House on Thursday afternoon, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. administering the oath of office. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called Mr. Barr’s confirmation “a major victory for justice and the rule of law in America.” During his previous stint as attorney general Mr. Barr took a strict stance on illegal immigration, and pushed for mandatory minimum sentences, just as Mr. Sessions did. That could prove to be an early test for Mr. Barr, after Mr. Trump late last year signed the First Step Act, a criminal justice reform bill that trimmed back those sentencing rules. Both Mr. Barr and Mr. Sessions had opposed it, though when asked about the legislation during his confirmation hearing, Mr. Barr promised to “faithfully enforce that law.”

Congrats to AG Barr!

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