Democrats press William Barr on DOJ's legal position against Obamacare

Democrats press William Barr on DOJ's legal position against Obamacare

"In extremely quick fashion, you turned a 300-plus page report into a four-page letter that supposedly summarised the findings", Serrano said in his opening remarks.

He said the White House did not review the letter to Congress laying out Mueller's findings before he sent it. But he said he would not accede to Democrats' demands that he provide the full, unredacted report to Congress, arguing that he can not legally release grand jury material and that he did not plan to ask a court to release it.

"The thinking of the special counsel was not a mystery" to senior Justice Department officials, Barr testified. Barr said he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein decided that the evidence was insufficient to establish obstruction.

All of those categories give Barr significant latitude to decide what to leave in and what to take out of the report's public version, none more so than the grand jury material.

US Attorney-General William Barr says he expects to release a redacted version of the long-awaited Mueller report on Russian election interference "within a week" as he defended his handling of the document.

He will likely be asked to further explain himself at the hearing Tuesday and at a Senate appropriations subcommittee hearing Wednesday that is also on the budget.

Barr countered that Rosenstein had always been apprised of the course of Mueller's inquiry, and that he and Rosenstein had met Mueller and his team on March 5 to discuss the wind-down of the investigation. Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) claimed Barr seemed to "to cherry pick from the report to draw the most favorable conclusion possible for the President". Asked why, Barr said, "Because it was my letter". Barr, with Mueller's assistance, has spent weeks redacting material that might compromise ongoing investigations or intelligence-gathering sources and methods.

Last week, Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee prepared subpoenas that they plan to issue to the Justice Department if Barr does not agree to release the Mueller report in full.

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Republican Representative Robert Aderholt of Alabama asked Barr during Tuesday's hearing if the Justice Department is investigating "how it came to be that your agency used a salacious and unverified dossier as a predicate for FISA order on a USA citizen?"

Barr said neither Mueller nor his team had reviewed his March 24 summary of the long-awaited report's conclusions, which allowed Trump to declare "complete and total exoneration" but also led to reports that some of Mueller's staff took issue with Barr's conclusions.

Expressing frustration with the lack of information given to Congress, Lowey pointed to news reports suggesting the final report from Mueller's team is between 300 and 400 pages long.

The Washington Free Beacon editor in chief defended Attorney General William Barr's handling of the Mueller report and accused Democrats of creating another conspiracy. Barr then made some news by what he did and didn't say.

Representative Robert Aderholt of Alabama, the subcommittee's top Republican, said it was unfortunate that "so numerous questions here this morning are going toward a "grassy knoll" conspiracy theory regarding the Mueller report".

The attorney general said he has not received the criminal investigation referrals from Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) that the lawmaker mentioned earlier in the week.

Mueller sent his final report to Barr on March 22, ending his nearly two-year investigation into possible ties between Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and Russian Federation.

Barr said in a four-page summary of Mueller's main conclusions that Mueller didn't find a criminal conspiracy between the campaign and the Kremlin.

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