Barr forms team to review FBI's actions in Trump probe

Leslie Hanson
April 11, 2019

While the four-page letter released by Barr said the special counsel did not find a criminal conspiracy between Russian Federation and Trump associates around the time of the 2016 election, it also said Mueller had presented evidence on both sides of the obstruction question and ultimately did not reach a conclusion on it.

William Barr, 68, appeared on Capitol Hill yesterday to talk about budget matters but faced complaints about his letter of March 24 in which he said that the special counsel Robert Mueller had cleared the Trump presidential campaign of conspiring with Russian Federation, and that there was evidence both for and against obstruction of justice. Democrats have expressed concern that his version will hide wrongdoing by the president and are frustrated by the four-page summary letter he released last month that they say paints Mueller's findings in an overly favorable way for the president. "When we do so, if we don't get everything, we will issue a subpoena and go to court".

Still, Barr maintains that it wasn't meant to be a full summary, and that Mueller declined to review the letter before it was sent. He said he could be open to eventually releasing some of the redacted material after consulting with congressional leaders, but maintained he had no plans to seek a judge's approval to disclose grand jury material.

Attorney General William Barr has reportedly commissioned a "team" to assess why the Federal Bureau of Investigation began spying on then-candidate Donald Trump's presidential election campaign in 2016.

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.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler of NY tweeted that Barr's comments "directly contradict" what the Justice Department previously has said, and intelligence committee Chairman Adam Schiff of California said Barr's testimony surely pleases Trump but "also strikes another destructive blow to our democratic institutions". Barr responded that he didn't know what their concern was, but that he suspected they wanted more put out.

Special counsel Robert Mueller investigated the Trump campaign for about two years
CLIFF OWEN SUPPLIEDSpecial counsel Robert Mueller investigated the Trump campaign for about two years

Barr would not discuss the substance of Mueller's findings but did explain his process for receiving and reviewing the report. When Crist asked about Trump's claim of total exoneration, despite Mueller's explicit statement that the report "does not exonerate" the president, Barr pretended that determining the meaning of the word "exonerate" was above his pay grade.

Rep. Nita Lowey, the Democratic chairwoman of the full Appropriations Committee, said she was taken aback that Barr had reduced Mueller's report to a four-page letter in just two days. Rep. Robert Aderholt of Alabama compared demands to see the Mueller report in full to a "grassy knoll conspiracy theory".

Barr further revealed he met with the special counsel team on March 5, 2019 and that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein also attended. At one point in the House hearing, he tried to cut off any more questions on the subject.

"It's hard to have that discussion without the contents of the report, isn't it, and that's why I'm suggesting that we wait until the report is out, and I'm glad to talk to people after then, and I'm already scheduled to testify about that", he said.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler of NY tweeted that Barr's comments "directly contradict" what the Justice Department previously has said.


Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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