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U.S. Senate Confirms Barr As Attorney General, Will Oversee Mueller Probe

William Barr

William Barr, President Donald Trump's nominee for attorney general, has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate, despite concerns over how he may handle the Russia investigation overseen by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

The Senate voted 54-45 on February 14 to confirm Barr.

The confirmation 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 former Attorney General Jeff 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 testimony to a Senate committee during the confirmation process, 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 current law.

Mueller's investigation has 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.

Trump has said he "never worked for Russia" and he called the investigation a "big fat hoax."

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP and AFP