1. Wide shot of William Barr sitting before the Senate Judiciary Committee as it returns from break
2. Wide cutaway of committee
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Sen. Chris Coons, Democrat, Delaware:
"So most famously when directed by President Nixon to fire the special counsel the prosecutor investigating Watergate, Richardson refused and resigned instead as we all well know. If the president directed you to change those regulations and then fire Mueller or simply directly fire Mueller, would you follow Richardson's example and resign instead?"
4. SOUNDBITE (English) William Barr, Attorney General Nominee:
"Assuming there was no good cause?
(Coons: Assuming no good cause.)
I would not carry out that instruction."
5. Cutaway of Coons
6. SOUNDBITE (English) William Barr, Attorney General Nominee:
"As I said, I'm going to carry out those regulations and I want him to finish this investigation."
7. Wide shot of hearing
8. SOUNDBITE (English) William Barr, Attorney General Nominee:
"Well I don't hold myself out as a foreign policy expert but I think that he is, I think the Russians are a potent rival of our country and his foreign policy objectives are usually at directly contrary to our goals. I think he wants to weaken the American alliances in Europe and he also wants to become a player in the Middle East, more of a player in the Middle East. A lot of his foreign policy objectives are are at odds with ours. At the same time, I think the primary rival of the United States is China. I think, you know, Russia is half the size it was when we were facing them at the peak of the Cold War. Their economy is, long term prognosis, is nowhere near China's. But I'm concerned that the fixation on Russia not obscure the danger from China."
9. Wide shot of hearing
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Democrat, Minnesota:
"If you're confirmed, will the Justice Department jail reporters for doing their jobs?"
11. SOUNDBITE (English) William Barr, Attorney General Nominee:
"I think that, you know, there are guidelines in place and I can conceive of situations where you know, as a last resort and where a news organization has run through a red flag or something like that, knows that they're putting out stuff that will hurt the country, there might be, there could be a situation where someone would be held in contempt."
President Donald Trump's nominee for attorney general continued efforts to distance himself from the president Tuesday as he testified before Senators at his confirmation hearing.
Under questioning by the Senate Judiciary Committee, William Barr said he would not "not carry out" any order to fire special counsel Robert Mueller without cause.
The comments were in response to a question from Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware.
Mueller's team is examining potential ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign. Barr said repeatedly Tuesday he wants Mueller to finish the investigation.
Trump's nominee was also asked whether Russian President Vladimir Putin is a friend or a foe to the United States.
Barr said while Russia is a "potent rival" of the U.S. with foreign policy objectives "usually at direct contrary," he minimized the threat from Moscow and said China, not Russia is the "primary rival" of the United States.
Throughout his testimony, Barr acknowledged Russian attempts to meddle in the 2016 election but said Russia "is half the size it was was" during the Cold War with an economy nowhere near the size of China's.
And he said he's concerned "that the fixation on Russia not obscure the danger from China."
On a separate topic, Barr told the committee he can't rule out jailing reporters for doing their jobs.
In response to a question from Sen. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, Barr said that there are certain situations where a reporter could be held in contempt "as a last resort."
Barr said the situations he was envisioning would involve news organizations "putting out stuff that is hurting the country."