>> Heightened controversy Thursday over President Trump's pick to be the next US Attorney General. Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer calling William Barr disqualified for AG, after The Wall Street Journal reported Barr wrote a memo to the Justice Department months before being nominated. In which he blasts Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe, calling Mueller's inquiry into whether Trump obstructed justice as fatally misconceived.
If confirmed, Barr would oversee Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Barr's memo setting off alarm bells for Democrats already skeptical about whether he's the appropriate choice to lead the DOJ given his past criticisms of Mueller and his belief in broad executive powers. But Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, one of two people to whom the memo is addressed, quickly coming to Barr's defense Thursday.
>> Bill Barr will be an outstanding Attorney General when he's confirmed next year. The memo that you made reference to reflects Mr. Barr's personal opinion, he shared his personal opinion with the department. Lots of people offer opinions to the Department of Justice but they don't influence our own decision making.
>> Barr's memo, 20 pages long, defends Trump's firing of FBI director James Comey as within his authority. And insists that, quote, Mueller should not be permitted to demand that the President submit to interrogation about alleged obstruction.>> Our decisions are informed by our knowledge of the actual facts of the case, which Mr. Barr didn't have.
I didn't share any confidential information with Mr. Barr. He never requested that we provide any non-public information to him. And that memo had no impact on our investigation.>> If confirmed, Barr would replace acting Attorney General, Matt Whitaker. Democrats are also concerned that Whitaker, who himself has criticized the Mueller probe, will not be recusing himself from overseeing the investigation.
>> Crisis was exasperated