The US Senate on Thursday confirmed William Barr as the country's next attorney general, putting the veteran Republican lawyer in charge of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe of any ties between President Donald Trump's campaign and Russian Federation.
Mr. Barr is rejoining the Department of Justice where he previously served as the 77th Attorney General of the United States from 1991 to 1993 under President George H.W. Bush. The criticism extended to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller as special counsel.
The longtime communications industry lawyer takes the job amid a tug of war between the president, who wants greater control of the Justice Department, and Mueller.
Barr has said he will not let himself be bullied by Trump and will protect the integrity of Mueller's investigation and make public as many of its findings as he can. He has pledged to be as transparent as possible, but that assurance has not sat well with critics.
In his confirmation hearing last month, Barr pointed to this distance from the Washington career ladder as one of the reasons he made a decision to take the job.
In this January 29, 2019 photo, Attorney General nominee William Barr, right, meets with Sen. The vote came more than three months after Jeff Sessions, Trump's first attorney general, was fired.
His recusal effectively served as a buffer between Mueller and the White House, but critics warn that the barrier is now considerably weakened.
Democrats have also been wary of Mr Barr over a memo he wrote prior to his nomination criticising Mr Mueller's inquiry.
Trump responded to the McCabe interview with a tweet: "Disgraced FBI Acting Director Andrew McCabe pretends to be a "poor little Angel" when in fact he was a big part of the Crooked Hillary Scandal & the Russia Hoax - a puppet for Leakin' James Comey". Comey later said he had rejected pressure from Trump to publicly declare that he was not under investigation.
He has not promised to release Mueller's report in its entirety.