Democrats Assail William Barr After Mueller Letter

Attorney General William Barr testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday morning, less than a day after a bombshell report that special counsel Robert Mueller sent the Justice Department a letter disputing Barr’s characterization of his report.

Specifically, Mueller told Barr the four-page summary of his conclusions “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of [the special counsel’s] work and conclusions.”

“There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation,” Mueller’s letter continued. “This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations.”

Here’s a roundup of reactions from Democrats on the Hill amid Barr’s testimony, many of whom have called for the attorney general’s resignation.

In an interview with CBS Tuesday night, Sen. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) called on Barr to resign. “There’s no sugarcoating this,” Schiff told CBS. “He should step down.”

In one particularly poignant interaction during the hearing, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) told Barr it seems he’s become the “designated fall guy.” 

“I think history will judge you [Barr] harshly and maybe a bit unfairly. Because you seem to have been the designated fall guy for this report,” he said. “Your credibility is undermined in the [Justice Department], in this committee, and with the American people.”

Blumenthal also made use of a visual aid to detail evidence the president repeatedly obstructed justice:

Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee where Barr has been asked to testify Thursday, stopped short of calling for Barr’s resignation but did acknowledge the attorney general is facing “great difficulties.”

“Besides the fact that he clearly misled the American people,” said Nadler, “he seems to have testified non-truthfully to the Senate and the House.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called the attorney general “a disgrace” and called for his resignation, while re-upping her previous push for the initiation of impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.

Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D) also called for Barr’s resignation on Twitter:

“On April 20th, I asked Barr, ‘Did Bob Mueller support your conclusion?’ His answer was, ‘I don’t know whether Mueller supported my conclusion.’ We now know Mueller stated his concerns on March 27th, and that Barr totally misled me, the Congress, and the public. He must resign,” he wrote.

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) told CNN Tuesday night he also thought Barr should resign. “He should be America’s attorney,” said Lieu, “not Trump’s stooge.” 

“It is incredible the actions [Barr] took,” Lieu continued. “He absolutely needs to go, and then he can apply to be White House press secretary where he can lie all he wants.”

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) highlighted just how absurd it is for Barr to claim President Trump “fully cooperated” with the special counsel’s investigation when he refused to sit for an interview, and in fact repeatedly tried to shut it down:

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) accused Barr of “spinning” Mueller’s report and “acting like the president’s lawyer, not the American people’s lawyer.”

“[Attorney General] Barr has lied to both the House and Senate. Let’s call it what it is,” Hirono added on MSNBC. “He’s only in the job to protect [Donald Trump]. As far as I’m concerned, he should not be the Attorney General.”

This article has been updated to include Sen. Blumenthal’s remarks.

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