AG William Barr faces Senate over Robert Mueller's Russia report | News Coverage from USA

AG William Barr faces Senate over Robert Mueller’s Russia report

WASHINGTON — Attorney General William Barr will face questions from Congress for the first time Wednesday since delivering the results of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian interference in the election that put him in office.

The end of that investigation put the new attorney general in the center of a political crossfire between Democrats who have been skeptical of his handling of the inquiry and Republicans eager to either move on or investigate the special counsel investigation. 

Barr said in prepared remarks ahead of the hearing that the Justice Department’s role in that investigation was confined to deciding whether anyone should face criminal charges and that its “work on this matter is at its end.”

“From here on, the exercise of responding and reacting to the report is a matter for the American people and the political process,” Barr said in the prepared testimony. 

The hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. EDT.

Hours before the hearing was to begin, the Justice Department confirmed that Mueller had privately objected to a letter Barr delivered to Congress in March clearing Trump of having obstructed the special counsel investigation. For weeks, Barr’s account had been the only information available to the public about the outcome of an investigation that had captivated Washington for nearly two years.

Mueller’s full report identified a “systematic” efforts by the Kremlin to intercede in the 2016 election by hacking emails and posting disinformation to help Trump win, and detailed how Trump and his aides appeared to welcome that help. But it found no conspiracy between Trump’s campaign and Russia, and did not reach a conclusion about whether Trump had sought to obstruct justice.

President Donald Trump has said Mueller’s 448-page report exonerated him because it did not conclude he had committed a crime. 

Mueller made no decision on whether Trump obstructed justice during the inquiry, but Barr decided no charges were warranted. 

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Republicans who lead the committee say the report speaks for itself and that the inquiry should be put to rest.

But Democrats are eager to ask Barr about his decision on obstruction charges, despite 10 possible episodes that Mueller described in the report. For example, Trump’s former White House counsel, Don McGahn, told investigators that Trump ordered him to fire Mueller, a demand that alarmed him so much that he cleaned out his office and prepared to quit. Trump has denied the accusation.

Barr is also scheduled to testify Thursday at the House Judiciary Committee. But that appearance remains under negotiation because Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., proposed to have staff counsel ask some of the questions. The House panel has also subpoenaed McGahn.

More about Attorney General William Barr and special counsel Robert Mueller:

AG William Barr warns he could refuse to appear at House hearing on Mueller report, objecting to format

Collusion, obstruction of justice, redactions: How the Mueller report uses these legal terms

Mueller report: Trump’s anger over Russia probe may have saved him from obstruction charge

 

 

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