Democratic senators and possible 2020 presidential candidates Amy Klobuchar, Sens. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris all had a big opportunity Tuesday during William Barr's attorney general confirmation hearing.
As members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, tasked with advising and consenting on Barr's nomination, the three possible White House hopefuls had time during the nationally televised hearings to make their points and question Barr.
Certainly they all have issues they want to address based on their time on the committee, but there's no doubt the confirmation hearing will be looked at through the lens of 2020 (just as Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation was last year).
Here's a rundown of what each of the three senators asked of Barr during their questioning (UPDATED to include their second round of questioning later Tuesday afternoon):
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.
Klobuchar, who came out of the Kavanaugh hearings with a 2020 bump after Democrats lauded her tough questioning, started her questioning off pushing Barr on the government shutdown and the border wall.
She then spent the majority of her time running through a battery of quick-hit questions: does Barr have confidence in FBI Director Christopher Wray; whether various actions by a president would constitute obstruction of justice; why he wouldn't commit to following the advice of Justice Department ethics officials on whether or not to recuse himself from the special counsel's probe; would he make the probe's findings public; would he recuse himself if he had a conflict with an investigation; and how he'd aim to protect voting rights.
Klobuchar also elicited an eye-catching response from Barr when she asked if he would be open to the department jailing journalists for reporting. Barr kept the door open on that by replying that "there could be a situation where someone would be held into contempt."
On her second pass at Barr, she questioned Barr about the attorney general's loyalties during a constitutional crisis, asked him to review her bill on preventing abusers stalkers from obtaining firearms, and to support the Violence Against Women Act.
Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.
Booker's round of questioning was more subdued than his rounds of questioning during the Kavanaugh hearing, where he evoked "Spartacus" and got into a clash with Republicans over previously confidential documents.
This time, he focused primarily on criminal justice, on the heels of the bipartisan bill signed into law.
He got Barr to commit to not using Justice Department resources on prosecuting marijuana crimes in states that have legalized the drug, with Barr saying he doesn't want to "upset settled expectations" and "reliance" on the Justice Department's past policy to ignore those violations of federal law.
Confronting Barr on his record on mass incarcerations during his first stint as attorney general, Booker asked Barr to commit to studying "racial disparities and disparate impacts" of criminal justice policies (Barr said he would). And he ended on a personal note.
"Sir, I was a young black guy in 1990s. I was a 20-something-year-old. And I experienced a dramatically different justice system," Booker said.
During the afternoon portion of the hearing, Booker brought up Barr's old writings on LGBT rights, to which Barr said he's open to the law as it stands but wants "accommodation to religion."
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.
Harris stuck to similar themes as Booker and Klobuchar, a consequence of her being one of the final members of the committee to question Barr.
She pushed Barr on states' rights on marijuana, on whether a wall would prevent the flow of drugs into America since most drugs come to America through legal ports of entry, and to definitively state why he might choose to disregard the agency's ethics board if they recommend he recuses from the special counsel investigation.
And she called for the Justice Department to approach the drug epidemic as more of a public health response instead of a "lock-em-up" response, an important issue as she looks to frame her past work as a prosecutor for a Democratic primary electorate that could be distrustful of a former state law enforcement chief.
"The war on drugs was an abject failure, America frankly has a crisis of addiction and putting the limited resources of our federal government into locking up people who suffer from a public health crisis is probably not the smartest use of taxpayer dollars," she said.
"If confirmed, I'd ask you to take a look at the more recent perspective on the drug crisis."
Later in the day, Harris pointed to the recent Washington Post story reporting that President Trump was concealing records related to meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin to ask if he thought that was against the law (Barr said he wasn't familiar with the underlying law).
And she peppered Barr with questions about the Justice Department's position on the ObamaCare lawsuit, put him on the record agreeing to address her concerns about voter suppression and on consent decrees with local police departments.