President Joe Biden’s nominee to head the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel pledged at a confirmation hearing Wednesday to provide “impartial and independent” legal advice to the Executive Branch if confirmed to lead an office that became entangled in Trump-era controversies over political influence at the department.

Christopher Schroeder, a Duke University law professor who served in the Office of Legal Counsel during the Clinton administration, emphasized to the Senate Judiciary Committee that the office “is not a policymaking operation” and should focus only on interpreting the law on thorny regulatory and enforcement questions facing the White House or other federal agencies.