Attorney General Testifies About Mueller Report In First Of 2 Hearings

Supporters of President Trump wait for him at a rally in Green Bay Wis. on April 27

Supporters of President Trump wait for him at a rally in Green Bay Wis. on April 27

The tense relations are notable given how Barr breezed through his confirmation process, picking up support from a few Democrats and offering reassuring words about the Justice Department's independence and the importance of protecting the special counsel's investigation.

Barr's four-page letter indicating the key findings of the Mueller report was published on March 24. It will give the attorney general his most extensive opportunity to explain the department's actions, including a news conference held before the report's release, and for him to fix a reputation bruised by allegations he's the president's protector.

Barr is scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday and the House panel on Thursday.

Barr noted that Mueller concluded his investigation without any interference and that neither the attorney-general nor any other Justice Department official overruled the special counsel on any action he wanted to take.

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PBS NewsHour will also stream the hearing and Barr's testimony on its YouTube page.

Barr has also repeatedly said Mueller found "no collusion" between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation - even though the special counsel's report made a point of noting that he had not investigated "collusion", which has no legal definition. "I really could not recapitulate his analysis", Barr said in response to a question from Sen. That is false. Mueller did not find a criminal conspiracy. The testimony comes about two weeks after Barr made a redacted version of Mueller's report available.

In fact, Mueller said he didn't make a "traditional" prosecution judgment on obstruction, mainly because he chose to abide by a Justice Department policy that says a sitting president can not be indicted. "Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment".

Ms Kupec said after receiving Mr Mueller's letter, Mr Barr called the special counsel and they had a "cordial and professional conversation".

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While we understand that the Department is reviewing the full report to determine what is appropriate for public release - a process that our Office is working with you to complete - that process need not delay release of the enclosed materials. "The special counsel also found McGahn is a credible witness with no motives to lie or exaggerate, so what I'm asking you then is that a credible charge under the obstruction statute?"

Democrats have accused Barr, the top US law enforcement official, of trying to protect President Donald Trump.

"It's clear now, egregiously, William Barr not only lied to the American people he apparently lied to the Congress", Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, told reporters before Wednesday's hearing. "Talk about no collusion in Russian Federation, there appears to be collusion between the President of the United States and the Attorney General".

Meanwhile, Mr Trump has passed the 10,000 falsehoods mark since taking office, according to fact-checkers, his flights of rhetoric at recent rally appearances seeing him hit an astonishing average of 23 untruths per day. The House Ways and Means Committee is pursuing Trump's tax returns, the Intelligence Committee is looking into Trump's businesses and the Judiciary Committee has subpoenaed Justice Department officials for the full report and its underlying intelligence sources.

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Also on Wednesday, the Democratic chairman of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee said an agreement had been reached to have Mueller testify to Congress on the probe.

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