Barr to testify before Senate as Mueller report looms

Saul Bowman
April 11, 2019

Attorney General William Barr brushed off a question during a House hearing on Tuesday about whether the White House has seen or was briefed on special counsel Robert Mueller's report.

Barr repeatedly limited his responses about the report, indicating that he would make himself available to answer any questions from both the House and Senate judiciary committees after the redacted report is released.

At Tuesday's House hearing, Barr said he expected to release a redacted version of the Mueller report within a week, with plans to color-code redactions and provide an explanation for why material was not released publicly.

The lack of details in Barr's letter, his decision not to charge Trump and his refusal to release the report in full without redactions has angered Democrats, who fear he may be sugar coating Mueller's findings.

He later said he wasn't sure there had been improper surveillance but wanted to make sure proper procedures were followed. Barr has said that there are four categories of material that are going to be blacked out before it's made public.

"I will consider whatever it takes to get people to see this report", said Representative José Serrano, D, chairman of the Appropriations commerce, justice, science and related agencies subcommittee.

Interestingly, Barr noted that Mueller's team did not play a role in drafting the original letter of summary given to Congress on the Special Counsel's report.

Mr Barr's opening remarks focused on funding requests for immigration enforcement and the fights against violent crime and opioid addiction, not mentioning the special counsel's report at all. In this case, the Judiciary Committee would likely have to begin impeaching President Donald Trump.

The Department of Justice offered Mueller to review the March 24 letter, but the special counsel declined, according to Barr. The Democrats are upset that Barr released a letter summarizing Mueller's findings and those findings blew up more than two years of claims that Trump is a RUSSIAN asset who worked with the RUSSIANS to win the presidential election.

The new attorney general's budget testimony - traditionally a dry affair, and often addressing the parochial concerns of lawmakers - came as Democrats were enraged that he was redacting material from the report and frustrated that his summary framed a narrative about Trump before they were able to see the full version.

Nadler has argued that Congress is entitled to grand jury information, citing previous cases that include the Clinton and Watergate investigations.

It wasn't immediately clear whether Nadler would agree to the place in line Barr had given him or whether he might insist on access to Mueller's full material at the same time the redacted document appears.

Barr later said he did not have evidence that wrongdoing occurred in the Justice Department or the Federal Bureau of Investigation, but he did have questions and concerns about what happened.

That's exactly why Barr did invent his own four-page exoneration of Trump even after Mueller wrote that his own report "does not exonerate" Trump.

"All we have is your four-page summary, which seems to cherry-pick from the report to draw the most favorable conclusion possible for the president", she said.

"As I've said, and you pointed out, since my confirmation I do think it's important that the public have an opportunity to learn the results of the Special Counsel's work", Barr told Congressional members.

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