Some Democrats in Congress are suggesting that Attorney General William Barr broke the law in announcing the principal conclusions of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report last week, according to a report.
Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) — who once asked during a hearing whether Guam could tip over and capsize if more Marines were added, suggested Friday that Barr’s handling of the report may have “obstructed justice.”
“If it turns out that he has obstructed justice by how he has handled the Mueller report that will be a deep stain on his legacy,” said Rep. Hank Johnson, member of the House Judiciary Committee, according to Politico.
Barr, in a letter to leaders of the Judiciary Committee, wrote that the special counsel did not establish any collusion, conspiracy, or coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.
He also said Mueller declined to take a position on whether the president obstructed the investigation, which he said left him to make the decision. Barr said he, in consultation with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, concluded Trump did not obstruct the special counsel investigation.
Democrats have slammed Barr’s characterizations of Mueller’s principal conclusions, and demanded that he release the report by April 2. Barr notified them that he intended to release the report by mid-April, if not earlier, as he scrubbed the report of four categories of legally protected information.
He also responded to their criticism by adding that his letter was never meant to be summary of Mueller’s report.
“Everyone will soon be able to read it on their own,” he wrote. “I do not believe it would be in the public’s interest for me to attempt to summarize the full report or to release it in serial or piecemeal fashion.”
Still, House Judiciary Democrats have blasted Barr for not yet releasing the full investigation, and on Wednesday, moved to authorize subpoenas for the report, as well as former White House advisers as part of their investigation to find any wrongdoing by the president.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) suggested that Barr was making up justifications not to release it in full:
The Attorney General’s repeated justifications for withholding grand jury material — instead of seeking court approval to release it — simply don’t add up.
We fought to ensure Mueller could finish his work. And we will fight to ensure Mueller’s report is not buried.
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) April 4, 2019
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) defended Barr on Fox News.
“Attorney General Barr has operated at lightning speed, providing the conclusions to Congress even over the weekend,” he said. “So, certainly he is going to be faithful to his commitment to get as much as is appropriate and legal from the Mueller report into the public square.”
“What [Republicans] don’t agree with is a strategy that would compromise sources and methods from the intelligence community or that would limit our ability to conduct important investigations in the future,” Gaetz added.
“Democrats made these very arguments when we were trying to get the underlying documents as to how this whole ridiculous investigation got started in the first place. Now they’re being total hypocrites,” he said.
AG Barr has operated at lighting speed, providing the conclusions of the Mueller Report to congress even over the weekend. He’s going to be faithful to his commitment to get as much as is appropriate and legal from the Mueller Report into the public square. pic.twitter.com/s6ZzqKeyMR
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) April 5, 2019