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Attorney General Barr Grilled by Senate Judiciary over Mueller Report

04 May 2019

"That's a crime", Pelosi said at her weekly press conference. Mr. Barr has since released the full Mueller report with minor redactions, as he promised, and with the "context" intact.This trashing of Bill Barr shows how frustrated and angry Democrats continue to be that the special counsel came up empty in his Russian Federation collusion probe.

Attorney General Barr refused to show at the hearing in protest of Democrats' plan for committee lawyers to question him. In all, it's likely to prompt a vote on holding Barr in contempt and possibly the issuance of subpoenas, bringing House Democrats and the Trump administration closer to a prolonged battle in court. And Barr himself was not opposed to the idea when it came up in Wednesday's hearing.

According to The Washington Post, Mueller's letter expressed frustration that Barr's summary did not fully capture "the context" of his investigators conclusions, and did not include their report "introductions and executive summaries" that would have alleviated "the misunderstandings that have arisen". So far, we know that Trump encouraged people within his inner circle to interfere with the investigation.

Nadler said the committee will take "whatever action we have to take" if Barr skips the hearing.

Mr Barr entered the hearing on the defensive following reports hours earlier that Mr Mueller had complained to him in a letter and over the phone about the way his findings were being portrayed.

She reiterated her position when asked by a reporter about Barr's testimony, "He lied to Congress, and if anybody else did that it'd be considered a crime, no one is above the law".

As Democrats portrayed Barr as untruthful, they sought to speak to Mueller. Nadler said the panel hoped the special counsel would appear before the committee on May 15 and the panel was "firming up the date". "He has even failed to show up today".

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"I think that if he felt that he shouldn't go down the path of making a traditional prosecutive decision then he shouldn't have investigated". Doug Collins, the top Republican on the panel, called Nadler's move a "stunt" and "circus" during his opening remarks Thursday.

"Allowing your committee to use Justice Department investigative files to re-investigate the same matters that the department has investigated and to second- guess decisions that have been made by the department would not only set a risky precedent, but would also have immediate negative consequences", Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd said in a letter to Nadler. "He never pushed it", Barr said of Mueller.

Democrats have said they may issue a subpoena to try to force Barr to testify before their committee.

At Wednesday's Senate hearing, Barr defended his handling of the Mueller report on Russia's interference in President Donald Trump's favour and whether Trump subsequently tried to obstruct Muelle's probe. Those who believe he is doing a good job will continue to see the Mueller report, and the continuing attention paid to it, as a witch hunt means to sully the president.

The attorney general's confrontational approach is in line with the White House, which argued in an April 19 letter that Trump has the right to instruct advisers not to testify before congressional oversight probes.

Barr has so misrepresented what Special Counsel Robert Mueller said in his 400-page report, that Mueller took the unusual step of telling Barr that his assessment was incomplete. With Trump seeking re-election next year, Democrats are weighing whether to try to remove the Republican president from office using the impeachment process while pressing forward with demands for information on his taxes, businesses and other topics.

Pelosi would not comment on what should happen next, saying she would leave it up to Democratic-controlled House committees to decide. "I would say, it's done".

Attorney General Barr Grilled by Senate Judiciary over Mueller Report