President Donald Trump's nominee to become attorney general has said he believes that Moscow attempted to interfere with U.S. elections, and added that the country needs a "credible resolution" to the issue.
"I believe it is 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," William Barr said.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller is conducting a probe into the alleged Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election. Previous Attorney General Jeff Sessions was pushed out last year after recusing himself from the investigation.
Barr said that if confirmed, he would not allow politics or personal interests to interfere with the investigation.
He said he "absolutely" would not fire Mueller or allow himself to be "bullied" by anyone, including Trump.
Barr made the comments at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
If confirmed by the entire Senate, Barr will take over leadership of the Justice Department and will have direct oversight of Mueller's investigation.
The confirmation process comes at a time of growing questions about Mueller's investigation and about Trump's own communications with Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin.
Trump repeatedly expressed anger with Sessions because he recused himself from any investigation into Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 election, eventually leaving Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein with oversight of Mueller's probe.
In prepared testimony released before his appearance, Barr said it was "vitally important" that Mueller be allowed to complete his work.
Barr also said he thought that Congress and the general public should learn the results of Mueller's investigation, something that isn't required under the current law.
Mueller's investigation has already shadowed Trump's presidency since nearly its beginning.
In recent days, U.S. news reports have raised even more questions.
The New York Times reported last week that the FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation into Trump, after FBI Director James Comey was fired in May 2017. That firing resulted in Mueller's appointment.
The Washington Post has reported that Trump has sought to conceal the details of his conversations with Putin. It said that on one occasion, Trump took the notes made by his interpreter and ordered the interpreter not to discuss what happened with other administration officials.
In comments on January 14, Trump said he has "never worked for Russia" and he called the investigation a "big fat hoax." He also denied he tried to conceal the content of his conversations with Putin.