“There is an encouraging bipartisan movement underway for criminal justice reform in our country, and William Barr is an outlier” – Kristen Clarke
Senate confirmation hearings began Tuesday for William Barr, President Trump’s nominee for attorney general to replace Jeff Sessions. Barr served as attorney general for George H.W. Bush from 1991 to 1993. During that time, he was involved in the pardon of six Reagan officials for the Iran-Contra scandal and oversaw the opening of the Guantánamo Bay military prison, which was initially used to indefinitely detain Haitian asylum seekers. Barr also openly backed mass incarceration at home and helped develop a secret Drug Enforcement Administration program which became a “blueprint” for the National Security Agency’s mass phone surveillance effort. But on Tuesday, senators asked few questions about Barr’s past record while focusing heavily on his views about special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. We look at Barr’s history with David Cole, national legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union. His recent article for the ACLU is titled “No Relief: William Barr Is as Bad as Jeff Sessions—if Not Worse.” We also speak with Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.