Barr challenged on Trump exoneration question

Attorney General William Barr looks over toward Assistant Attorney General for Administration Lee J. Lofthus left as they appear before a House Appropriations subcommittee on Capitol Hill Tuesday

Attorney General William Barr looks over toward Assistant Attorney General for Administration Lee J. Lofthus left as they appear before a House Appropriations subcommittee on Capitol Hill Tuesday

Technically, it was about the Justice Department's 2020 budget.

He falsely claimed that the Mueller report had found "no obstruction". "I'm not going to say anything more about it until the report is out and everyone's had a look at it".

CHANG: That is a redacted version of the special counsel's report on the Russian Federation investigation. Jerry Moran. He said that though he did not have specific evidence of wrongdoing, "I do have questions about it".

RYAN LUCAS, BYLINE: Hi there.

Predictably, Trump has now extended his 180-degree turnaround from last week on releasing Mueller's report to deriding Mueller and his team, right on schedule.

Republican Lindsey Graham, who's a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has already pledged to pursue the issue in the Judiciary Committee he leads.

LUCAS: Barr said he's not making these decisions alone.

LUCAS: Well - and that's not all.

It should be noted that Rosenstein, who oversaw the Mueller probe, also approved the final FISA extension that is the subject of the IG investigation. Democrats said they were concerned that Barr's letter portrayed the investigation's findings in an overly favorable way for Trump. One side will presumably be disappointed by the big reveal. Some Democratic lawmakers have gone so far as to accuse Barr of "hiding the ball" or perpetrating a "cover-up".

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CHANG: How does he square that? - because, especially with the redactions, say, related to the reputational interests, where's the transparency?

That was foolish of them, because Barr is a consummate attorney who saw this coming a mile away. That's a very important distinction.

"The American people want to see the [Mueller] report". They can draw their own conclusions, make their own judgments. Barr anticipated referrals from House intelligence committee ranking member Devin Nunes (R-California), but denied having yet seen the referrals. He has a subpoena in hand for the full report. So there is definitely a potential fight brewing on this.

Barr wrote that Mueller had not concluded that Trump's campaign engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Moscow. What can you tell us about that?

Barr's inquiry is separate from a long-running investigation by the Justice Department's inspector general, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing sensitive matters. We've talked about it a lot, about their allegations.

For almost as long as the Democrats have been telling us that Trump colluded with Russians to steal the 2016 election, they've also been telling us that the president and his supporters were delusional for believing that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and USA intelligence agencies improperly surveilled the Trump Campaign.

Barr also said that he could be open to releasing some redacted details after consulting with congressional leaders, though he said he did not have plans to ask a court for permission to disclose secret grand jury testimony.

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