The Senate advanced President Donald Trump’s nominee to be attorney general on Tuesday, clearing a procedural hurdle ahead of his confirmation vote later this week.
The Senate voted 55-44 to end debate on William Barr’s nomination, surpassing the simple majority needed for him to be confirmed to the position. The Senate is expected to hold a final vote on Barr’s nomination on Thursday, but it could vote to confirm him on Wednesday if senators yield back their time.
Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), and Doug Jones (Ala.) joined with Republicans to advance Barr’s nomination. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is the only Republican senator to say they will oppose Barr’s confirmation.
In a tweet posted early Tuesday, Manchin said Barr is “well-qualified” and that he is confident Barr will fulfill his duties as attorney general.
Due to the support of Manchin, Sinema, and Jones, Democrats would need seven Republican defections to defeat Barr’s nomination.
Early in the confirmation process, Barr’s prospects were uncertain as Democrats raised concerns about how independent he would be in the role and whether he would allow Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe to continue unhindered.
Barr told senators he would let Mueller finish his investigation and that he would make Mueller’s findings public.