Attorney General William Barr is facing growing attacks from congressional Democrats and others who feel that he deliberately downplayed the findings of Robert Mueller’s special counsel report into Russian meddling in the 2016 elections, The Intercept reports.
House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat representing New York, echoed that sentiment on Friday morning when announcing that his committee has issued a subpoena to the Justice Department to obtain the full, unredacted report no later than May 1. Nadler has indicated that Barr’s handling of the report has been in bad faith and that only a congressional review of the document in its entirety would suffice to accurately portray its findings. Nadler also teased the possibility of bringing Mueller himself in to personally testify on the topic.
“It is clear,” Nadler said, “Congress and the American people must hear from Special Counsel Robert Mueller in person to better understand his findings.”
A joint statement issued by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer took a stronger tack, saying that the attorney general “deliberately distorted significant portions of Special Counsel Mueller’s report.” They added that the report “paints a disturbing picture of a president who has been weaving a web of deceit, lies and improper behavior and acting as if the law doesn’t apply to him. But if you hadn’t read the report and listened only to Mr. Barr, you wouldn’t have known any of that because Mr. Barr has been so misleading.”
After his Mueller report deceptions, there is no way for William Barr to credibly continue to run the Department of Justice. https://t.co/HJgPCWH6c5
— Slate (@Slate) April 18, 2019
Democratic ire does not seem to be coming from nowhere, as analysis of the lengthy report continues after it’s release last week.
The New York Times, in fact, published an extremely detailed article providing a side-by-side comparison of Barr’s statements about Mueller’s findings juxtaposed against the language that Mueller actually included in his report. Of particular divergence were the differences in Barr’s characterization of Trump’s attempts to stymie the investigation, which could turn out to be grounds for charges of obstruction of justice. While Barr has described Mueller’s findings on this topic as a vindication of Trump’s continued claims of innocence on the matter, Mueller in fact indicates simply that he does not believe that a sitting president can be indicted, referring to a longstanding and to some controversial Justice Department legal opinion.
Mueller’s report is clear in its position that for that reason, the decisions should be left to Congress, not the special counsel. In any case, a growing number of Democratic voices are beginning to call for Barr’s resignation, calling into question how long past the release of the report the attorney general will remain in place.