U.S. attorney general ready to release Mueller report 'within a week'
- Author: Sylvester Abbott Apr 14, 2019,
Apr 14, 2019, 0:25
Testifying before the House Appropriations Subcommittee, ostensibly to discuss other matters, Barr told representatives that he is preparing to release the report within a week.
Barr said the mid-April deadline for releasing the report still stands. Committee Democrats, however, used Barr's appearance to grill the attorney general on his four-page summary of special counsel Robert Mueller's report.
The Democratic majority on the House Judiciary Committee voted to authorize Nadler to issue a subpoena for Mueller's work product and evidence if necessary, but Barr's comments on Tuesday suggested that might not be necessary - although granting access to Nadler might also take place after the redacted Mueller report has been released.
After Washington waited almost two years for Mueller to conduct his investigation, Barr released a letter last month stating that the special counsel found no evidence the Trump campaign "conspired or coordinated" with the Russian government to influence the 2016 election.
Barr was loath to provide many details other than to say that the Justice Department planned to release the redacted report in the next week.
Barr was also questioned about the initial Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants approved to surveil members of the Trump campaign.
"It was started illegally".
Barr, who was nominated to his post by Trump four months ago, was asked about spying by Republican Sen.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler of NY tweeted that Barr's comments "directly contradict" what the Justice Department previously has said. His review is separate from a Justice Department inspector general investigation into the early days of the FBI's Russian Federation probe, which Barr said he expects to conclude sometime around May or June. "The question is whether it was predicated, adequately predicated", meaning whether it was legally justified.
Across the Capitol, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he had no concerns with Barr's handling of the report: "I think it really comes down to a question of whether you trust Bill Barr or not".
Barr may have been referring to a secret surveillance warrant that the Federal Bureau of Investigation obtained in the fall of 2016 to monitor the communications of former Trump campaign aide Carter Page, who has not been charged with any wrongdoing. Every single thing about it.
That warrant included a reference to research that was conducted by an ex-British spy who was funded by Democrats to look into Trump's ties to Russian Federation.
Barr was summoned to Congress to talk about his department's budget request, but politicians still asked about the Mueller report as they waited to see it. Barr's prepared remarks, sent to the committee on Monday, focused on funding requests for immigration enforcement and the fights against violent crime and opioid addiction, not mentioning the special counsel's report at all.
Barr said in the summary that Mueller did not reach a conclusion on whether the president obstructed justice and instead presented evidence on both sides of the question. They also want all of the underlying documents from the investigation.
Predictably, Trump has now extended his 180-degree turnaround from last week on releasing Mueller's report to deriding Mueller and his team, right on schedule.