A bipartisan group of rank-and-file senators are planning to hold discussions on how to end the weeks-long government shutdown, with talks between congressional leaders and the White House at a standstill.
The group involves Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) and others, according to an official with knowledge of the deliberations who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private discussions.
Prospects for the group to achieve any results — or even get off the ground — are uncertain as it begins meeting this week. But the group’s creation is a sign senators of both parties are eager to end the shutdown, even if it means taking matters into their own hands amid an impasse between top Democrats and President Trump.

As we’ve been arguing over and over, if Mitch McConnell would just let a bill come to a vote, it would pass and then Trump would be forced to sign it or veto it. That’s the way out.

Attorney general nominee William P. Barr said in written testimony released Monday that he would let special counsel Robert S. Mueller III finish his investigation of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign without political interference and that it was “very important” Congress and the public be informed of the results.
The four-page testimony, released a day ahead of Barr’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, offered a preview of how he will address what his advisers expect to be the most challenging lines of inquiry. Trump’s nominee to be the top U.S. law enforcement official has occasionally been critical of the special counsel investigation and wrote in a memo to Justice Department leaders last year that Mueller’s apparent theory of possible obstruction of justice by the president was “fatally misconceived.”

Expect some detailed questioning from Democrats on this question during his confirmation hearings, especially when it comes to the conversations Barr has had with the president.

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