4 key takeaways from William Barr's testimony on the Mueller report

Watch Live Congress grills Attorney General Barr on the release of the Mueller report

Yesterday, Attorney General William Barr appeared before the House Appropriations Committee to talk about the DOJ budget, but that was more of an afterthought as the Democrats used the opportunity to showcase their virtue on the Mueller report.

Barr defends the infamous four-page letter: Barr has been heavily criticized by Democrats for the four-page letter he sent to Congress upon reviewing Mueller's report; specifically, the portion where he determined that President Donald Trump should not be charged with obstruction of justice based on the available evidence.

The Mueller report is not the goal of the meeting, and in a prepared statement released ahead of the session Barr does not mention it.

"I presume we're going to get the redacted report within a week", Nadler said Tuesday. A number of White House aides have privately said they are eager for Russian Federation stories, good or bad, to fade from the headlines.

"As I say, it's hard to have that discussion without the contents of the report, isn't it?" he said.

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Barr's reference to "spying" may refer to a secret surveillance warrant that the Federal Bureau of Investigation obtained in the fall of 2016 to monitor the communications of former Trump campaign aide Carter Page, who has not been charged with any wrongdoing and has denied being a Russian spy.

Across the Capitol, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he had no concerns with Barr's handling of the report: "I think it really comes down to a question of whether you trust Bill Barr or not".

Fox News is also told that the Justice Department's Inspector General (IG) is separately looking into whether former FBI Director James Comey mishandled classified information by including a variety of sensitive matters in his private memos, including the name and code name of a confidential human source.

Critics of the Russian Federation investigation say the warrant on Page was unjustified and have also seized on anti-Trump text messages sent and received by one of the lead agents involved in investigating whether the Trump campaign was colluding with Russian Federation. Moreover, while Mueller did not reach a conclusion as to whether Trump obstructed justice, Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein determined that the president did not. "Although the President would have the right to assert privilege over certain parts of the report", Barr wrote in that letter, "he has stated publicly that he intends to defer to me and, accordingly, there are no plans to submit the report to the White House for a privilege review". "And the first impression of the Mueller report was very good for Trump".

Though he said the document will be redacted to withhold negative information about peripheral figures in the investigation, he said that would not apply to Trump, who is an officeholder and central to the probe.


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