Attorney General refuses House testimony on Mueller report

Attorney General refuses House testimony on Mueller report

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi didn't mince her words Thursday about the attorney general of the United States.

Congressional Democrats are probing whether a four-page letter Mr. Barr sent lawmakers on March 24, days after he had received the Mueller report, misrepresented Special Counsel Robert Mueller's findings on whether U.S. President Donald Trump obstructed the investigation into whether Russian Federation meddled in the 2016 presidential elections.

He said the committee "will have no choice but to hold the attorney general in contempt" of Congress if Barr does not negotiate in good faith for Congress to get that information.

Barr is under fire for how he characterised the Mueller report in a summary on March 24, several weeks before the findings were released.

"Confirmation hearings are easy in the sense that the smart nominee knows the right answer to all the questions, which is not to commit to anything but agree to consider everything", said Greg Brower, a former assistant director in the FBI's office of congressional affairs.

"Nobody is above the law".

In her questioning of Barr, Senator Kamala Harris demonstrated she is more fit to be U.S. Attorney General than Barr is. Nadler's insistence on staff questioning "is inappropriate", said Department of Justice spokeswoman Kerri Kupec.

With Barr absent, Democrats convened a short hearing that included an empty chair with a place card set for Barr.

Barr said he objected to the format of the hearing after Democrats made a decision to let staff attorneys conduct a round of questioning after lawmakers were done.

"In the past they had a House jail", said Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., a member of the Judiciary panel.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy defended Attorney General William Barr on Thursday as many Democrats continue to call for Barr's ouster. Nadler said he would not immediately issue a subpoena for Barr's appearance but would first focus on getting the full Mueller report, likely including a vote holding Barr in contempt of Congress.

"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".

Democrats have claimed that Barr's letter downplayed the extent of Mueller's findings on the obstruction question.

Attorney General William Barr failed to appear before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

Essentially, the White House letter argues that Mueller's team was playing politics when they specifically stated in the report that it "does not exonerate" Trump of obstruction of justice.

As National Review's Rich Lowry noted, Mueller's letter "shows how the special counsel-or people around him-was deeply concerned about the political spin around the report, especially if it wasn't damaging enough to Trump".

Nadler's comments indicated that Democrats are prepared to escalate a showdown with Trump's administration, which has resisted their demands for documents and information on a wide range of topics, from Trump's taxes to his potential financial conflicts of interest.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy also said he doesn't need to hear from Mueller. Flood also aimed to draw a distinction between cooperating in a criminal investigation and a congressional investigation led by the House Democrats.

"A day after Mueller sent his letter to Barr, the two men spoke by phone for about 15 minutes, according to law enforcement officials", the Post reports.

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