Playing chicken with Trump's attorney general

03 Mai, 2019, 18:19 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Playing chicken with Trump's attorney general

And Barr himself, scheduled to testify before House Democrats on Thursday, has reportedly threatened not to show up because of disputes with lawmakers over the format of the event.

Mr Barr spent four hours before a Republican-led Senate committee on Wednesday, defending his handling of Mr Mueller's report on Russia's interference in the election to boost Mr Trump's candidacy and whether the President subsequently tried to obstruct Mr Mueller's probe. They don't have the power to set hearing schedules or compel officials to appear.

Mueller, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation director, concluded there was insufficient evidence to show a criminal conspiracy and opted not to make a conclusion on whether Trump committed obstruction of justice, but pointedly did not exonerate him.

The special counsel did, however, lay out 10 "episodes" that could potentially be obstruction, but he left the final decision up to the attorney general. Barr failed to mention a March 27 letter he got from Mueller complaining that Barr's March 24 account did not "fully capture the context, nature and substance of this Office's work". Barr said Wednesday his goal had been simply to release the report's bottom-line conclusions as he readied the entire document for release. Neither Barr nor Mueller went public with their conversation. White House legal counsel Emmet Flood said in a defiant letter that Trump had the right to tell advisers not to testify to congressional panels on the findings of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation inquiry.

In her weekly press conference Thursday morning, Pelosi also came down hard on Barr, claiming it was "sad" to see the attorney general "withholding the truth from the Congress of the United States". The Justice Department vehemently denied that.

At least two of the three Senate Democrats who voted to confirm William Barr as attorney general told Politico they have serious regrets about their votes.

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Even if Barr didn't immediately acknowledge the disconnect with Mueller, his tone about the investigation did appear to evolve.

At a news conference shortly before the release of Mueller's report last month, he repeatedly said Mueller had not found collusion between Trump aides and Russian Federation, though the actual report pointedly noted that collusion is not a legal term. He said Trump had a "sincere belief" that the investigation was undermining his presidency.

Trump oftentimes used Clinton's deleted emails as a point of attack during the 2016 presidential campaign, and as a way to attempt to discredit Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation probe.

Meanwhile, the White House has refused to let some members of the Trump administration comply with requests from House Democrats to testify.

"You have been very adroit and agile in your responses to questions here", said Sen. But in my view, I was not interested in putting out summaries or trying to summarize because I think any summary, regardless of who prepares it, not only runs the risk of being underinclusive of overinclusive but also would trigger a lot of discussion and analysis.

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