US Attorney General Expected to Face Mueller Report Questions

US Attorney General Expected to Face Mueller Report Questions

Attorney General William Barr recently testified before the House Appropriations subcommittee regarding the Department of Justice's 2020 budget. "And so, I think that, from my standpoint, by the - by - within a week, I will be in a position to release the report to the public".

"I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal", Barr told senators at a budget hearing that, like a similar House hearing Tuesday, was dominated by questions about special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation. He said he provided Mueller the opportunity to review Barr's controversial March 24, 2019 letter to Congress, in which he outlined the conclusions of Mueller's report, but that Mueller declined the opportunity review the draft or to provide input. The letter said that Mueller did not find a criminal conspiracy between Russian Federation and Trump associates, and that Barr did not believe the evidence in the report was sufficient to prove the president had obstructed justice. The reports said that some of the evidence against Trump was more damning than Barr's letter indicated. "So they will be identifiable", Barr said.

Barr, an appointee of Trump who last month announced what he said were the main findings of the report, said he would be as open as possible about redactions of sensitive information when he hands over the full document.

Barr told Congress that there were "no plans" to assert executive privilege and that the president told the attorney general to make the decisions regarding whether something should be redacted from the released Mueller report.

The Democratic majority on the House Judiciary Committee has voted to authorize Nadler to issue a subpoena for Mueller's work product and evidence if necessary.

"I'm glad to talk to Chairman [Jerry] Nadler and Chairman [Lindsey] Graham as to whether they feel they need more information and if there's a way we can accommodate that", Barr said. Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) asked the attorney general how it came to be that a "salacious and unverified dossier" was used to spy on an American citizen.

Barr released a four-page summary of the almost 400-page Mueller report last month that stated the special counsel had found no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin but said Mueller had not reached a conclusion on whether the president obstructed justice during the investigation.

Barr responded: "The thinking of the special counsel was not a mystery to the Department of Justice prior to the submission of the report".

In particular, Barr has expressed an interest in the initial Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants that allowed surveillance of Trump's campaign to take place. Committee Democrats are likely jumping at the chance to pick over the report's grislier details (whatever those might be) with Mueller himself-a potential cable-news soundbite bonanza. The almost 400-page report is being scoured now to remove grand jury information and details relating to pending investigations. He has also said that Mueller did not reach a conclusion on whether the president obstructed justice, instead presenting evidence on both sides of the question.

But Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee had provided members with a list of suggested questions, and as appropriators the lawmakers do have leverage: They could withhold or put conditions on the Justice Department's budget.

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