The House Judiciary Committee announced Sunday it plans to call Attorney General William Barr to testify before lawmakers, citing “discrepancies” in the Justice Department’s handling of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.
The announcement came after Barr on Sunday released the principal conclusions of Mueller’s report, which detailed a nearly two-year investigation into whether Donald Trump’s campaign conspired with Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. Barr’s letter said Mueller found no evidence of collusion.
“In light of the very concerning discrepancies and final decision making at the Justice Department following the Special Counsel report, where Mueller did not exonerate the President, we will be calling Attorney General Barr in to testify before [the House Judiciary] in the near future,” House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) tweeted Sunday.
On the question of obstruction of justice, the attorney general said that Mueller “ultimately determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment” about whether there was enough evidence to establish the president’s guilt. Barr said that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein came to the conclusion themselves that there was not enough evidence to bring obstruction of justice charges against Trump.
Bar was confirmed last month as the country’s top law enforcement official after being nominated by Trump.
Congress has called for transparency and demanded access to the full Mueller report. Lawmakers repeated those demands Sunday after Barr sent in his summary, saying they should be able to review the underlying evidence that led to the report’s conclusion. Barr has said he believes Justice Department regulations prevent him from releasing derogatory information about individuals he has not criminally charged.
Nadler said at a Sunday press conference that he will issue a subpoena to get the full report if necessary, and that it is “unprecedented” for a special counsel not to decide whether the president should be indicted.
“Special counsel Mueller was clear that his report ‘does not exonerate’ the president. The special counsel spent 22 months uncovering evidence of obstruction and other misconduct,” Nadler said. “Attorney General Barr ... made a decision about that evidence in under 48 hours.”
Nadler also called out Barr’s history of criticizing the Mueller probe, and said the country “cannot simply rely on what may be a hasty, partisan interpretation of the facts.”
“He auditioned for his job by writing a 19-page memorandum giving a very extreme view of obstruction of justice and presidential power,” Nadler said of Barr.
This story has been updated with details from Jerry Nadler’s press conference.