AG William Barr testifies in House hearing

Barr faces Congress as he readies Mueller report for release

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.

Barr wrote in a letter to House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsay Graham (R-SC) less than two weeks ago that "there are no plans to submit the report to the White House for a privilege review".

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.

Democrats scolded Barr over his handling of the report, telling him they were concerned that a summary of its main conclusions he released last month portrayed the investigation's findings in an overly favorable way for President Donald Trump. His primary concern, he insisted, is protecting confidential grand jury material included in the document.

"I am relying on my own discretion to make as much public as I can".

Mueller concluded his investigation in late March and turned over a almost 400-page report to Barr. Rep. Robert Aderholt of Alabama, the top Republican on the subcommittee, chided Democrats by lamenting that "so numerous questions here this morning have gone toward a grassy knoll conspiracy theory regarding the Mueller report".

"I will consider whatever it takes to get people to see this report", said Representative José Serrano, D, chairman of the Appropriations commerce, justice, science and related agencies subcommittee. "That's something that has been really important to us". Barr said he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein then concluded that there was insufficient evidence for an obstruction crime. Unlike them, it actually stands a chance to offer a bit of national healing.

"There's a lot of pressure all pointing in the direction of doing a robust release, said John Bies, who held senior roles in the Justice Department during the Obama administration and now works at American Oversight, a liberal watchdog group". Barr's nine-page written statement that was released Monday ahead of the hearing made zero mention of Mueller or the special counsel's report.

"I hear members of the committee basically saying, you've taken this legal position, it can have bad consequences. bad policy consequences", Barr said.

"From a prosecutor's standpoint", he said, "the bottom line is binary, which is charges or no charges". Barr stated affirmatively that he is still on track to release the redacted report within a week. Democrats pressed Barr on exceptions to Rule 6 (e) that would allow him to release this information.

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

The Justice Department, Enlow said, has already agreed to put EPIC's request on an expedited track but other requests are ahead of it.

Mr. Cartwright said President Trump, through Mr. Barr, is flirting with potential chaos, since Republicans have not prepared a feasible alternative in case coverage provisions in Obamacare are eliminated. He added, "My intention is not to ask for it at this stage".

The attorney general also announced something else likely to please Graham: a forthcoming report about investigators' use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in the Russian Federation investigation.

"It is like fundamentally rigging the game before we know what the actual score is", said Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe, who worked with Barr on a telecommunications case in the 1990s.

"They still want some salacious detail out of this thing, but I don't think they're ever going to get it", Chaffetz said.

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