Bill Barr appears on Capitol Hill today to begin two days of testimony before the House and Senate appropriations subcommittees. Dems intend to take advantage of his appearance to ratchet up the pressure on the Mueller report.
"With the Mueller report still private, the attorney general goes before the public. In just an hour, William Barr begins two days of testifying before Appropriations subcommittees in the House and Senate. Today's hearing is Democrats' first chance to grill Barr since his four-page memo about Mueller's nearly 400-page report," said reporter Sunlen Surfaty.
"We're going to know a lot more about Mr. Barr's thinking process and why he did what he did and why he didn't do more. I hope that he takes a very sparing approach to his redactions because he knows that everybody is going to want to know what's behind the black ink," said Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA).
"House appropriations chairwoman planning to call Barr's handling of Mueller unacceptable, saying it seems to cherry-pick for the president. Chairman Serrano planning to say many investigators felt, quote, it shows malfeasance by the president and his advisers. Barr said Mueller could not make a final determination about obstruction of justice."
"There is no good reason not to make the report public," Rep. Jerry Nadler said.
"There is an easy answer to this. Release the Mueller report as soon as possible," Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.
"Since Mueller ended his nearly two-year-long investigation last month, Democrats have been pushing to get the full report. The Justice Department says Barr will release a redacted version by mid-April. Barr has promised to be as transparent as he can."
"When his report comes to you, will you share it with us as much as possible?"
"Consistent with regulations and the law, yes."
"The attorney general will also face the House Judiciary committee May 2nd. But for Chairman Jerry Nadler, hearing from Barr is not enough. He wants to talk to Mueller.
"We'll probably want to call Mueller to discuss it. Reading the report and the underlying evidence will give us more information as to what questions we should ask Mueller or the other people who work with him."
"Chairman Nadler has not spoken to Barr since the committee voted to authorize a subpoena last week for the full report and, of course, the underlying evidence. There has, of course, not issued the subpoena yet, but he says he'll do it soon, unless Barr provides what they've demanded," Surfaty concluded.
David Gregory talked about Bill Barr "inserting himself" into the investigation's conclusion.
"On what basis? I mean, that's what I want to know. That is what is so fascinating. To figure out why on the big question, aside from what Mueller concluded, that there was no conspiracy, which is very important, that there was interference by the Russians but there was no nexus with the Trump campaign, that was a huge question that Mueller answered, according to Barr," Gregory said.
"On this next question of did the president seek to interfere in this investigation, why, first of all, did Mueller stop short of making a conclusion, and then why is it that Barr felt, without any investigation on his part whatsoever, he could come in at the 11th hour and draw that conclusion and say there was no obstruction -- after he'd written a memo before he got this job, saying the president could never be charged with obstruction of justice because all those decisions would be within his executive powers."