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Why Are Democrats Calling Barr a Liar?

America Daily with Mark Jackson

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House Judiciary Committee Chairman, Jerry Nadler, rejected an offer from the Justice Department to disclose the full Mueller report to select committee members. He moved ahead on his plans for a contempt vote against William Barr. Barr had refused to respond to a subpoena for the release of an unredacted Mueller report. Arleen Richards, our America Daily election and politics reporter, explains the situation.

Why is the committee asking for the full report? Didn’t they already receive a 448-page report?

Arleen Richards: They did, and it was released on April 18, but the committee is not satisfied because the report was redacted to protect other investigations that are still ongoing. You see, this Mueller investigation was initially intended to focus on Donald Trump, but because of some of the other information that was revealed, William Barr, the Attorney General, is questioning whether or not intelligence agencies were spying on the Trump campaign in 2016, which could lead to future prosecutions. Under federal criminal rules, the prosecutor has to protect names and information connected with ongoing investigations. Barr refused to release the full report because the criminal rules prevent him from giving material related to grand jury testimony to Congress. And now Democrats are saying that Barr basically lied about what the Mueller report concluded, and they are pressuring him to say Donald Trump obstructed justice.

Well, I know that during the hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 1, several Democrats, including some of the presidential candidates, were calling for Barr to resign because they think he failed to accurately summarize the Mueller report. And based on a letter Mueller wrote to the Attorney General on March 25, the committee is saying Barr didn’t accurately explain the true nature and context of the report.

Arleen Richards: I think a lot of confusion has been created by the media and the Committee itself because I carefully read Barr’s summary, and also the Executive Summary prepared by Mueller, and I didn’t get the sense that Barr was intentionally trying to leave something out. He clearly states that Mueller reported that Trump did not collude with the Russians. As for the obstruction claim, Mueller could not say one way or the other if obstruction actually occurred, and Barr stated that in his summary as well. You see, when Barr published his summary in March, Mueller’s report was still under review, so not every detail could be released right away. I think part of that was because Barr and his team were trying to determine whether or not Trump had obstructed justice. Mueller did indicate in his report, and his summary that Trump had used his Article II executive powers many times to make lawful decisions that could have affected official proceedings, but he didn’t find corrupt intent. Trump fired some people, asked others not to say bad things about him. And basically what Mueller said is a man in Trump’s position has the power under the Constitution to do that anyway. And not only that, but he openly and vocally did it, he even tweeted about it. Now having said that, a sitting president is not immune from prosecution. He can be charged for bribing a witness or asking someone to lie for him. But none of his Article II orders involved those kind of actions.

Did Barr, as the Attorney General, have the power to overrule Mueller’s decision?

Arleen Richards: Yes, and Barr decided that the president did not obstruct justice for basically the same reasons that Mueller did. And that is because there was no evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that proved Trump acted with corrupt intent to interfere with a pending proceeding, that being the collusion investigation. And the reason it cannot be proven is because Trump wasn’t colluding with the Russians, and that fact was determined beyond a reasonable doubt. Whatever else he was doing or the reasons he was doing it are irrelevant. Now Mueller himself said in his report that you need a concrete showing to prove a person tried to get an unfair advantage for himself and the fact that the president was exercising his Article II powers means that he was acting lawfully.

Now getting back to the release of the full Mueller report, if Barr was legally protecting the records and, from what has been reported, the Justice Department did offer to permit a small group of senior lawmakers to view a less redacted report, why did Nadler go ahead with the contempt vote?

Arleen Richards: Right, why did he. First, the Attorney General publicly disclosed, with as few redactions as possible, Mueller’s confidential report, and then he made an even-less-redacted version available to a small group of congressional leaders, and this is consistent with requirements under the Freedom of Information Act. And I suspect that the additional information the Democrats are hoping to see is not really related to whether or not Donald Trump obstructed justice, but more closely tied to information Barr is investigating about intelligence agencies spying on the Trump campaign in 2016. Because if they were spying, what was the basis for them conducting this surveillance in the first place? Who requested it and why was it leaked to the media? You have to remember, that was also during the same time period that an investigation was conducted about Hillary Clinton’s emails.

What effect does a contempt charge have on the continuing investigation?

Arleen Richards: It could cause some delays, but Barr has a team working with him, so they should be able to continue. I doubt that a recommendation from Congress to prosecute Barr will get very far since they have to send their citation to the Department of Justice, and what federal prosecutor wants to bring charges against his own boss.

Press play to listen. Why do you think Democrats are pushing for the unredacted report? Please comment below.

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