Attorney General William Barr declared he thinks "spying did occur" against Donald Trump's presidential campaign, suggesting the origins of the Russian Federation investigation may have been mishandled, in remarks that aligned him with the president at a time when Barr's independence is under scrutiny. Mr Barr's decision comes following the release of the Mueller report last month which found no links between Trump's 2016 Presidential election campaign and Russian Federation interference. Mr Barr released a four-page letter summarising the report two days later and said he would release a redacted version of the full report by mid-April, "if not sooner". Barr also said he personally decided after reviewing the report that Mueller did not find enough evidence to show that Trump committed the crime of obstruction of justice.
Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh said Attorney General William Barr blew up Democrats' conspiracy theories about Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report and alleged Trump-Russia collusion.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler of NY tweeted that Barr's comments "directly contradict" what the Justice Department previously has said.
Watch above via NBC News. They repeatedly confronted him about his choice to release a four-page letter that suggested Trump had been cleared of all wrongdoing in lieu of the full report, and raised concerns that Barr will abuse his redaction power to hide any information in the full report that would be politically damaging to the president. Barr promised that the report would be ready "within a week", but spoke about it in tones meant to imply that it was of no more general interest than, say, a USDA report on fertilizer levels.
Barr said "the letter speaks for itself" and revealed that he gave Mueller an opportunity to review the letter, but he declined. The House Judiciary Committee has approved - but not yet sent - subpoenas for the report, and top Democrats have said they are willing to take the battle to court.
The Democrats are demanding that they see the full report and all its underlying evidence, though Mr Trump and his Republican allies are pushing back. While opening the hearing, subcommittee Chairman Jose Serrano of NY called it "the elephant in the room". Bloomberg also reports that the AG is forming a team to investigate the Mueller investigation. "I look forward to reviewing the Mueller report myself". He said in a March 29 letter that he did not intend for his brief summary of Mueller's main conclusions to be an "exhaustive recounting" of his work.
Asked about reports that members of Mr Mueller's team were unhappy with his handling of the report, Mr Barr said he suspected any discontent may have reflected their desire to put out more information. At one point in the House hearing, he tried to cut off any more questions on the subject.
In an interview with The Associated Press, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she didn't trust Barr and suggested his statements undermined his credibility as America's chief law enforcement officer.
Barr said he did not attempt to summarize the special counsel's report because to do so would simply trigger criticism of being under inclusive or over inclusive.
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