AG William Barr testifies in House hearing

Henrietta Strickland
April 13, 2019

The attorney general also said the door appears open to more investigations or reports about the conduct of the Russian Federation investigation - music to the ears of Republicans who have followed the lead of President Trump in calling it a "witch hunt" or suggesting it's the product of a conspiracy by the FBI and the Justice Department.

Barr was also questioned about the initial Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants approved to surveil members of the Trump campaign, including former Trump aide Carter Page.

The attorney general appeared Tuesday morning before the House Appropriations Committee to discuss a variety of issues, and Democratic lawmakers pressed him for details on the report - and asked how he could have summarized hundreds of pages in a matter of hours.

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

The host of the Fox News program, Maria Bartiromo, told Nunes that he "ought to be taking a victory lap here" after Barr's memo said there was no evidence of Russian collusion.

Barr said he will redact four categories of information, and "with all that stuff missing, it's going to read like an investigative Mad Libs", Stephen Colbert said at The Late Show.

Barr has said a redacted version of Mueller's report will be made available to lawmakers in the coming days.

Facing the intensifying concerns from Democrats that he may have whitewashed Mueller's findings, Barr has twice moved to defend, or at least explain, his handling of the process since receiving the special counsel's report.

Barr said he was reviewing his department's actions in investigating Trump.

"It was started illegally. There were dirty cops", he said. "And the first impression of the Mueller report was very good for Trump". Barr didn't answer, insisting he has said everything he planned to say about the report until it comes out.

EPIC filed a lawsuit on March 22 demanding the release of the Mueller report, arguing that the public has the right to know the full scope of Russia's interference in the 2016 election. 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.

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.

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.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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