Trump's attorney general pick to face bitter confirmation battle

William Barr is expected to be pressed on whether he'll protect Robert Mueller's investigation and whether he thinks a president can and should be investigated for obstruction of justice.
3:43 | 01/15/19

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Transcript for Trump's attorney general pick to face bitter confirmation battle
Also in Washington, confirmation hearings for president trump's attorney general nominee William Barr. If approved by the senate questioning today. Our chief justice correspondent Pierre Thomas in the hearing room on capitol hill. Good morning, Pierre. Reporter: Good morning. All of Washington will soon be focused on this hearing room and the top issue for Barr, special counsel Robert Mueller. We expect senators especially the Democrats but also some Republicans to press Barr hard on whether he wi protect the Mueller investigation. Barr has been skeptical of at least some aspects of the probe specifically whether the president can and should be investigated for obstruction of justice for firing someone in his own administration. In this case, former FBI director James Comey, George. And, Pierre, we have seen the first draft at least, his written draft of his opening statement. He is making some pledges. Reporter: I found it interesting he went out of his way to call him a friend of more than 30 years and said he should be allowed to complete his work writing I believe it's in the best interest of everyone, the president, congress and most importantly the American people that this matter be resolved by allowing the special counsel to complete his work. Barr says he won't let politics affect the investigation and that the results should be made public. He said he wants to provide as much transparency as the law will allow, George. Thanks very much. Let's bring in Dan Abrams for more. This is extraordinary for this reason, you've now got an attorney general nominee where the focus is one thing, the man in chief of staff the Mueller investigation. You have two broad bucket, number one will be this memo he wrote, this 19-page memo where he took a somewhat radical position on exactly what the power of the president is with regard to Russia, firing Comey. Said there was no problem with firing Comey. That basically the president can do that if he wanted to and then you've got his recent statement and there are two key phrases in it, informed of the results, that's what the public and the congress is going to be and that he's going to allow it to complete its work but as lawyers we always look at those words and we say, well, there's still some wiggle room here. Consistent with the law. Does that mean he's going to allow the public to be informed of all the results? Does that mean he's going to allow Mueller to complete all of his work the way that he's pursuing it right now? Could there be changes? Those are the sorts of questions we will hear. He has so much power. There's a new report overnight that Mueller went at president trump's attorneys again and said, boy, we really want to talk to you. He rebuffed them again. It would be up to Barr if he got confirmed to decide whether they could subpoena the president. Because Jeff sessions recused himself we always talk about rod Rosenstein, this is entirely going to be in Barr's hands, the questions of what do we do next if something like that happens? Are we going to subpoena the president? Robert Mueller could say I want to subpoena the president and then attorney general Barr could say, no go. Not going to happen. I don't expect to see that kind of showdown between them but it could happen. It's all against the backdrop of this extraordinary revelation over the weekend that back in 2017, FBI so concerned that president trump might be compromised by Russia they open up an investigation of a sitting president. This ups the stakes, I think, for everyone and the question becomes, is that something that's still on the table? Is that something that Mueller's still examining? We don't know. That may have been a short-term issue. That may have been something they looked at and dismissed or something a focus of the investigation. One of the keys is and we can't forget this, we simply don't know a lot about exactly what Mueller is doing. And that's the critical thing in evaluating what's happening. Most leakproof investigation ever. As it should be. Yeah. Absolutely. Thank goodness for it. Thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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