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Trump's attorney general nominee to recuse from AT&T-Time Warner appeal

Reuters  |  WASHINGTON 

By Mark Hosenball, and Andy Sullivan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - William Barr, nominated by to become U.S. attorney general, plans to recuse himself from a major antitrust case, according to people who spoke with him on Thursday, as he navigates possible conflicts of interest presented by about $37 million in assets he amassed as a

Barr is scheduled to go before the next week for two days of confirmation hearings. Ahead of that, he has submitted financial disclosure forms, as required. Some of the forms, seen by Reuters, describe sizeable investments in stocks, bonds and

Among his holdings are $1.2 million worth of shares in and company Inc . He served on the board of Time Warner, which was acquired by last year, from 2009 until 2018.

The Justice Department, which Barr would lead as attorney general, fought and lost a court battle to block the $85 billion deal and has appealed the decision.

Barr told Democratic Senator he would recuse himself from that effort if he were confirmed, Klobuchar said.

"He told me he was going to recuse himself from the Time Warner-appeal because he was involved in that, the Time Warner side," Klobuchar told reporters after meeting with Barr.

She added that she plans to review his financial disclosures more carefully over the weekend.

A Justice Department official, familiar with Barr's confirmation preparation, confirmed that he plans to recuse himself from the matter.

Barr is set to face tough questioning in the confirmation hearings on Tuesday and Wednesday from Democrats who have raised concerns about his past criticism of Robert Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Senators who will vet his nomination will likely closely examine the disclosures, which trickled in later than usual on Thursday due to a partial government shutdown which has furloughed many of the government's ethics attorneys.

According to the documents, Barr owns about $16 million worth of stocks and bonds, as well as another $8 million in private investments and $4.2 million in

As of Dec. 14, he held $2.8 million worth of stock, his largest holding. Barr served on Dominion's board of directors, as well.

Under federal ethics rules, Barr will be required to divest certain holdings if they conflict with particular matters he is working on at the Justice Department.

Presidential nominees also must sign an ethics pledge that spells out how potential conflicts will be managed.

Other stocks in his portfolio include tobacco company and drugmakers and Pfizer Inc .

could not immediately determine which assets, if any, he may need to divest, but the same Justice Department said government ethics lawyers are working on a divestment plan.

Barr will also be required to disclose some details about which clients he or his firm have recently represented in order to avoid potential conflicts.

In his questionnaire to the Senate, he disclosed he represented and in 2017 in connection with a Justice Department grand jury probe and recently was retained to provide regulatory advice for the private equity firm [UL].

Other possible conflict questions that could come up include the fact that his daughter and both of his currently work at the Justice Department.

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch, and Andy Sullivan; Editing by and Bill Rigby)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, January 11 2019. 06:54 IST
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