White House steps up attacks as Mueller report release nears

White House steps up attacks as Mueller report release nears

White House steps up attacks as Mueller report release nears

FILE PHOTO: William Barr takes a seat after a break in his Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on his nomination to be attorney general of the United States on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 15, 2019.

Attorney General William Barr on Tuesday said that he offered Robert Mueller the opportunity to review his four-page synopsis after the special counsel completed his two-year, $30 million probe into allegations that members of President Trump's campaign colluded with Russian Federation to alter the outcome of the 2016 election, but Mueller declined.

Rep. Nita Lowey (D- N.Y.), chair of the appropriations committee, described Barr's handling of the matter as "unacceptable" and accused him of "cherry picking" Mueller's findings "to draw the most favorable conclusion possible for the president".

The attorney general said the redactions in the report will be color-coded to indicate which rationale was used to withhold the information.

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".

Appearing before a House appropriations subcommittee, he said information will be redacted if it contains grand jury information, would reveal intelligence sources and methods, interfere with ongoing court cases and the names people who aren't criminally charged.

The chairman of the subcommittee, Democratic Rep. Jose Serrano of NY, also said there were unanswered questions, including "serious concerns about the process by which you formulated your letter; and uncertainty about when we can expect to see the full report".

Barr testified before a congressional panel on Capitol Hill on Tuesday in his first appearance since releasing a four-page summary of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation.

Expressing frustration with the lack of information given to Congress, Lowey pointed to news reports suggesting the final report from Mueller's team is between 300 and 400 pages long.

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Barr's March 24 four-page summary raised as many questions as it resolved.

But first, Nadler wants Mueller's work product - all of it, including the underlying evidence in addition to the findings in his report - and then Nadler wants to hear from Barr.

He also said that the investigation did not find enough evidence to charge Trump with obstruction. "I don't believe there is any reason to redact any material for the sole reason that it is derived from grand jury proceedings".

Barr is to testify on the report itself at separate hearings before the Senate and House Judiciary committees on May 1 and May 2.

'It's very troublesome to see a Justice Department against the law of the land when there are many people - many people - who, if not liking the whole law, certainly like the pre-existing conditions provision, the ability to keep their child on their plan until that person's 26, ' Serrano said during the hearing Tuesday.

If Trump did get more than the synopsis, it could have helped the White House with its efforts to spin the entire investigation as a time-wasting "witch hunt" that had nonetheless "exonerated" him, whether or not the report actually supported that interpretation.

Democrats have criticized Barr for not releasing Mueller's report in full since it was finished on Friday, March 22. He also said that Mueller did not reach a conclusion on whether the president obstructed justice, instead presenting evidence on both sides of the question.

"I can envision a situation where under appropriate safeguards, that information can be shared", Barr said.

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