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It may have been Paul McNulty’s Senate confirmation hearing, but the shadow that loomed largest in the committee room on Groundhog Day was that of the man he was nominated to replace, former Deputy Attorney General James Comey. President George W. Bush’s previous No. 2 at the Justice Department was roundly praised by Democrats. “He refused to be a yes-man and he got pushed out of the department,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). Leahy and other Dems lauded Comey for the appointment of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald and for resisting the White House’s warrantless domestic spying program. McNulty, while praising the administration, vowed to be his own man if confirmed. “Loyalty is a good thing,” McNulty said. But “integrity trumps loyalty.” When questioned on the White House’s white paper justifying the eavesdropping program, McNulty said he agreed with its position, though he allowed that some of the administration’s arguments were “more compelling than others.” In a signal of bipartisan support for McNulty, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) called him a “man of integrity” and promised to vote for his confirmation. A vote on McNulty is expected later this month.
Jason McLure can be contacted at [email protected].

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