Donald Trump

Democrats Question Barr on Handling of Mueller Report

Attorney General William Barr faced questioning Wednesday from lawmakers for the first time since the release of the Mueller report.

His appearance came hours after a letter surfaced raising more questions. Democrats want to know why the attorney general misled the public into thinking there was no wrongdoing on the part of President Donald Trump, when they say special counsel Robert Mueller's report contains substantial evidence of obstruction.

"This whole thing is sort of mind-bendingly bizarre," Barr said of the hearings.

It's becoming the norm at congressional hearings -- two sides seemingly speaking different languages.

"Would you concede that you had an opportunity to make this letter public when Representative [Charlie] Crist asked you a very related question?" asked Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat from Rhode Island.

"I don't know what you mean by related question - it seems to me it was a very different question," Barr replied.

"I can't even follow that down the road. Boy, that's some masterful hairsplitting," Whitehouse said.

Where Democrats see courageous lawmakers trying to get to the truth, Republicans see an opposition party unwilling to move on.

"What they're trying to do is to embarrass the administration, beat down the attorney general and say he's colluding with the president to twist the facts that exist," said Republican political analyst Gene Hartigan.

But Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota sees no twisting of facts when asking the attorney general about the president's personal counsel telling former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort that he would be "taken care of," as written in the Mueller report.

"That, you don't consider obstruction of justice?" she asked Barr.

"No, not standing alone," Barr answered. "On both the same reasons."

"And I think that is my point here," Klobuchar said. "You look at the totality of the evidence."

Should Democrats worry about overreach?

"Yes, but they also have to worry about their constitutional obligation," Democratic political analyst Steve Kerrigan said. "They have an obligation to pursue matters that are placed right before them, like this in the Mueller report."

Republicans say Americans are ready to move on from the Mueller report. Democrats say the investigation has just begun.

Contact Us