WASHINGTON- Today, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) pressed Attorney General Nominee William Barr at his confirmation hearing on his views about a free press. She also questioned Mr. Barr regarding the special counsel investigation being led by Robert Mueller and, if confirmed, whether he should recuse himself from overseeing the investigation based on comments he made in a memo sent to the Department of Justice in June of last year.
Klobuchar: “The last thing we should be doing is suppressing voting and that is what we've been seeing under this current administration. My dad was a reporter, so I grew up knowing the importance of a free press. We have the tragic case of a journalist who worked right here at the Washington Post, Jamal Khashoggi. It's a particular concern. I want to ask you something I asked Attorney General Sessions. If you're confirmed will the Justice Department jail reporters for doing their jobs?”
Barr: “I think that -- I know there are guidelines in place, and I can conceive of situations where as a last resort and where a news organization has run through a red flag or something like that, knows that they're putting out stuff that will hurt the country, there might be a -- there could be a situation where someone would be held in contempt.”
Klobuchar: “Well, Attorney General Sessions said he was going to look at potentially changing those rules at one point. I'd like you to respond in writing to this, because that was very concerning.”
The Senator also asked questions related to immigration, election integrity, the impact of the shutdown and what he considered would constitute obstruction of justice by a President.
For broadcast-quality video of Klobuchar’s questioning, click here.
Klobuchar is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Department of Justice. Prior to her time in the Senate, Klobuchar served as Hennepin County Attorney.