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Senate panel approves Trump attorney general nominee William Barr

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The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved President Donald Trump’s attorney general nominee, William Barr, and sent his nomination on to the full Senate for a final confirmation vote.

The committee voted along party lines. Republicans praised Barr as well qualified, while Democrats who voted against him said they were concerned he might not make public the findings from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

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A corporate lawyer who previously served as attorney general under Republican President George H.W. Bush in the early 1990s, Barr has been praised by lawmakers from both parties as someone who is deeply familiar with the workings of the Justice Department and does not owe his career to Trump.

He is expected to win confirmation in the Republican-controlled chamber.

If he wins the job, Barr’s independence could be put to the test when Mueller wraps up his investigation into the Trump campaign’s possible ties to Russia during the 2016 election.

The Republican president has repeatedly criticized the investigation as a “witch hunt” and denies any collusion with Moscow.

Barr criticized the investigation last year in a memo to the Justice Department, but he told the committee in confirmation hearings three weeks ago that he would allow Mueller to conclude his work and said he would make as much of his findings public as possible.

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But Barr has refused to promise that he will release the report in its entirety, citing Justice Department regulations that encourage prosecutors not to criticize people who they do not end up charging with criminal behavior.

(Reporting by Andy Sullivan; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Jonathan Oatis)

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David Holmes opening statement to Congress directly implicated Donald Trump: report

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Congress will hear first-hand testimony of President Donald Trump's involvement in the Ukraine scandal.

"David Holmes, the state department aide who overheard President Donald Trump's conversation with the US ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, said that Sondland told Trump that the Ukranian President would do 'anything you ask him to,' and that he confirmed the Ukrainians were going to 'do the investigation,'" CNN reported Friday.

""Sondland told Trump that (Ukrainian President Volodymyr) Zelensky 'loves your ass,'" Holmes testified. "I then heard President Trump ask, 'So, he's gonna do the investigation?' Ambassador Sondland replied that 'he's gonna do it,' adding that President Zelensky will do 'anything you ask him to.'"

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Putting ‘health of all species’ in danger: Trump EPA proposal guts restrictions on toxic herbicide linked to birth defects

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"The pro-industry zealots now running the EPA's pesticide office are making a mockery of science and eliminating key safety measures, all for company profits."

Environmental and public health advocacy groups expressed alarm Friday after the Trump administration moved to increase the allowable level in U.S. waterways of a common herbicide linked to hermaphroditic amphibians and birth defects, cancer, and other harmful health effects in humans.

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‘Rudy has got to be looking at handcuffs’: Ex-prosecutor says Giuliani will have a tough time in prison

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Another Donald Trump attorney is looking at serving prison time, a former federal prosecutor predicted on MSNBC on Friday.

MSNBC "Meet the Press Daily" host Chuck Todd asked former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner if prosecutors would be tougher on Giuliania because he had once been a prosecutor himself.

"It’s tough to figure out, first of all, how Rudy is going to play it because based on what we’ve seen and particularly if [Lev] Parnas flips, Rudy has got to be looking at handcuffs sometime soon," Kirschner replied.

"And Chuck, what does he do? As a former U.S. Attorney, does he want to run the risk of ending up in the bureau of prisons where he will not find a lot of friends in the inmate population," he explained.

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