Paul to oppose Trump's AG nominee

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: State of the Union takeaways | Sights and sounds from the night | Virginia attorney general admits he wore blackface GOP senators think Trump would win vote on emergency declaration Senate approves Syria, anti-BDS bill MORE (Ky.) said on Monday that he will oppose President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump to sign executive order promoting artificial intelligence Trump’s new Syria timetable raises concern among key anti-ISIS allies Trump officials considering Mar-a-Lago for next meeting with China’s Xi: report MORE‘s attorney general nominee, becoming the first Republican to come out as a “no” vote on William Barr.

Paul told Politico that he had concerns about Barr’s record on privacy, calling him a “chief advocate for warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens.”

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A spokesman for Paul didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The libertarian-leaning GOP senator had previously raised concerns about Barr, who also served as attorney general to President George H.W. Bush. 

His opposition comes as the full Senate could take up Barr’s nomination as soon as this week following his approval by the Judiciary Committee last Thursday on a party-line vote.

Paul’s “no” vote isn’t enough to sink Barr on its own. Republicans hold a 53-47 majority, meaning that if Democrats could keep their whole caucus united they would still need to flip four Republican senators to stymie the confirmation. 

Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) became the first Democrat to say last week that he would support Barr. 

Jones’s and Paul’s defections mean Democrats still need to flip four Republicans to stop the nomination. Other potential swing votes, including Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinTrump divides Democrats with warning of creeping socialism Dems wary of killing off filibuster McConnell tees up Barr nomination for next week MORE (D-W.Va.), have not announced how they will vote.

But Manchin told reporters earlier Monday that he viewed Barr “very favorably.”