Barr returns to Capitol Hill, where he'll face more Mueller questions

Desiree Burns
April 12, 2019

As Serrano pointed out, Barr portrayed his four-page letter as a reasonable summary of Mueller's findings, but the New York Times reports that members of Mueller's team are complaining that Barr "failed to adequately portray the findings of their inquiry and that they were more troubling for President Trump than Mr. Barr indicated".

Barr wouldn't discuss the substance of the special counsel's investigation into possible connections between Russian Federation and Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, but he did explain some of what to expect when the report is released: He said the redactions will be color-coded and accompanied by notes explaining any decisions to withhold information.

Mr Barr told members of Congress at his first public appearance since receiving special counsel Robert Mueller's report that his earlier projection of releasing a version by mid-April still stood.

The Democrats are demanding that they see the full report and all its underlying evidence, though Trump and his Republican allies are pushing back.

"It is like fundamentally rigging the game before we know what the actual score is", said Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe, who worked with Barr on a telecommunications case in the 1990s.

Republicans defended Barr, with Alabama Rep. Robert Aderholt comparing Democrats' questions to theories surrounding President John F. Kennedy's 1963 assassination. Committee Democrats are likely jumping at the chance to pick over the report's grislier details (whatever those might be) with Mueller himself-a potential cable-news soundbite bonanza.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.ZY., said he was unsatisfied with Barr's answers to the appropriations panel, saying he could issue subpoenas "very quickly" if the report is released with redactions.

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Barr said he expects to release a redacted copy of the report next week. They say that was the start of the probe that Trump calls a "witch hunt" and that Mueller took over after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler of NY tweeted that Barr's comments "directly contradict" what the Justice Department previously has said. Barr also said that some on the Mueller team might be frustrated because they "may have wanted more put out" in his four-page summary.

If I were John Brennan, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Bruce Orr, Andy McCabe, or any of the other Obama administration officials involved in the "counterintelligence" spying that fueled the discredited Russian Federation collusion conspiracy theory, I'd lawyer-up, because this will be intense for the snake-oil merchants who brought disgrace to the most revered investigative and law enforcement agencies in the world.

Lowey then noted that Barr wrote a memo, before even being hired as attorney general, arguing that the president can not obstruct justice.

Facing the intensifying concerns from Democrats that he may have whitewashed Mueller's findings, Barr has moved to defend, or at least explain, his handling of the process since receiving the special counsel's report. At one point in the House hearing, he tried to cut off any more questions on the subject.

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. NPR justice reporter Ryan Lucas joins me now.

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