As the Senate Judiciary Committee prepares for hearings on William Barr’s nomination for attorney general, one person will loom large in the room: special counsel Robert Mueller.

Several Senate Democrats on the committee plan to grill Barr at his confirmation hearing next week on his views on Mueller’s Russia investigation, focusing on a controversial memo Barr wrote last year to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. In that memo, Barr criticized Mueller’s investigation into possible obstruction of justice as “fatally misconceived.” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday said Barr should be disqualified from leading the DOJ in part because of the memo.

“The memorandum is deeply worrisome because in effect he says the president is above the law... that’s incorrect as a matter of law but certainly for an attorney general to have that position is deeply wrong,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who said he’ll ask Barr if he’ll stop political interference into the special counsel’s probe.

He added that Barr should recuse himself from overseeing the investigation if he can’t provide an “ironclad” commitment to protecting Mueller and declines to disavow statements he made in the memo.

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