AG William Barr testifies to House Appropriations subcommittee


Attorney General William Barr testified before Congress Tuesday saying he will release a redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's 400 page report within a week.

Committee Chairwoman Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) asked Barr point-blank if the White House had seen the report or was briefed on it. But one GOP Congressman is now asking that Mueller publicly testify about his report.

"All we have is your four-page summary, which seems to cherry-pick from report to draw the most favorable conclusion possible for the president", she said at the hearing.

And - having told lawmakers previously that his department was scrubbing the report with an eye on a mid-April release - Barr confirmed the Justice Department was on course to make the report public in the next seven days. Barr released the 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". The House Judiciary Committee voted last week to authorize a subpoena for the full report and evidence.

In particular, Barr rebuffed Democratic arguments that he could provide grand jury material to Congress.

While the Judiciary Committee is leading congressional efforts to obtain the full Mueller report, Serrano and Lowey said after the hearing that the Appropriations Committee could also play a role in pressuring the Justice Department, given their control of the DOJ budget. "This report is too important to all of us".

In a March 24 letter to Congress, Barr said that Mueller's investigation did not establish that members of Trump's election campaign conspired with Russian Federation. Barr says Mueller's thinking was "not a mystery" to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and other senior Justice Department leaders who had been supervising the probe for almost two years. Mueller, however, had not made any recommendation on such a charge. "I think that's what drove the decision not to indict".

"If you are successful, 12 million people nationally and 750,000 in my home state of Pennsylvania who have coverage under the Medicaid expansion would also likely lose that coverage. I'm not going to say anything more about it until the report is out and everyone's had a look at it". Barr stated affirmatively that he is still on track to release the redacted report within a week. "You will recall that the special counsel did spin off a number of cases that are still being pursued", Barr told lawmakers.

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Barr also faced questions about the Justice Department's endorsement of a federal court's ruling to invalidate the Affordable Care Act in its entirety, a drastic shift from the administration's previous position that certain facets of the law should be shot down. Barr says he worked closely with Rosenstein in authoring the letter.

Democrats have called for the Mueller report to be released in full but Mr. Barr said on Tuesday: "I don't intend at this stage to send the full unredacted report to the committee".

"Two-and-a-half weeks ago the Mueller report was completed".

But Barr said the Trump administration is "very worried" about what happens and said the president has been clear that he supports healthcare that protects people with pre-existing conditions.

"I'm not going to discuss it any further until after the report is out", he said.

Trump, on the other hand, disregarded the line completely and has been crowing about "TOTAL EXONERATION" on Twitter since Barr's summary went public. "It's hard to have that discussion without the contents of the report, isn't it?" he said. Questions are sure to remain, however, about the extent to which Barr has blacked out material from the report.

This indicates that Barr is looking into allegations that Republican lawmakers have been pursuing for more than a year - that the investigation into President Donald Trump and possible collusion with Russian Federation was tainted at the start by anti-Trump bias in the FBI and Justice Department.