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Barr challenged on Trump exoneration question

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on April 9, 2019 - Duration: 02:16s

Barr challenged on Trump exoneration question

U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Tuesday would not elaborate to House Appropriations Committee members what he meant in his four-page letter that the Mueller investigation conclusion does not exonerate the president.

Barr also said that some on the Mueller team might be frustrated because they 'may have wanted more put out' in his four-page summary.

Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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Barr challenged on Trump exoneration question

ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Tuesday would not elaborate to House Appropriations Committee members what he meant in his four-page letter that the conclusion from the Mueller investigation did not exonerate the president.

Barr also said he believed some on the Mueller team 'may have wanted more put out' in his four-page summary.

On March 22, Mueller completed his 22-month probe and Barr sent a four-page letter to Congress two days later outlining the main findings.

Barr told lawmakers the investigation did not establish that members of Trump's election campaign conspired with Russia, but also did not exonerate the president on obstruction of justice.

Barr said he had concluded there was not enough evidence to show that Trump committed the crime of obstruction.

But news media reports said members of Mueller's team were unhappy with the way Barr, a Trump appointee, had characterized the report's conclusions.

Democrats repeatedly criticized Barr for his handling of the report, including taking it upon himself in the letter to decide that Trump should not be charged with obstruction of justice.

Nita Lowey, chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, said Barr's letter summarizing the Mueller report appears to "cherry-pick from the report to draw the most favorable conclusion possible for the president." "In many ways, your letter raises more questions than it answers," she added.

The New York Times and the Washington Post reported last week that some investigators on Mueller's team were unhappy with the way Barr described their findings.

The reports said that some of the evidence against Trump was more damning than Barr's letter indicated.

Barr said he did not have insight into why some on Mueller's team were upset.

"I suspect that they probably wanted more put out," he said.

Barr said he did not offer to let Mueller help draft his four-page March 24 letter to Congress on the conclusions of the special counsel's investigation.

Asked why, Barr said, "Because it was my letter." He said the White House did not review the letter to Congress laying out Mueller's findings before he sent it.

Last week, Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee prepared subpoenas that they plan to issue to the Justice Department if Barr does not agree to release the Mueller report in full.

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