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Democrats demand Barr step down after misleading Mueller report comments

The attorney general feigned ignorance in his Senate testimony, even after special counsel Robert Mueller objected to his summary of the Russia probe.

Attorney General William Barr testifies before Congress last month.
Attorney General William Barr testifies before Congress last month. CREDIT: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Several Democratic lawmakers are demanding Attorney General William Barr resign or be removed after The Washington Post revealed on Tuesday that special counsel Robert Mueller had sent Barr a letter objecting to his misleading description of the final Mueller report.

On March 24, Barr released his official summary of Mueller’s findings from the nearly two-year long investigation into election interference and possible presidential obstruction, claiming Mueller concluded there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. However, Mueller was dissatisfied with that summary, stating in a letter to the attorney general on March 25 that Barr had not captured the full context or nature of Mueller’s findings. Mueller sent a second letter on March 27 reiterating those concerns, according to The New York Times.

Despite this, Barr later testified to Congress that he was not aware whether Mueller disagreed with his initial summary, and said Mueller had not asked to review the summary before it was made public.

Lawmakers jumped on the conflicting narratives Tuesday night, saying Barr’s summary, and his decision to ignore Mueller’s concerns and continue to mislead the public and Congress in subsequent testimony, proved the need for him to step down.

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Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) on Tuesday night posted a video of Barr testifying before lawmakers last month, claiming not to know whether Mueller had agreed with his characterization of the investigation’s findings.

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

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) also blasted the “extent and pervasiveness of dishonesty and misdirection by individuals in the highest office of the land, including the President,” as documented in Mueller’s actual report.

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While Mueller’s report, made public last month, did not prove any criminal coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election, it did lay out several questionable ties between the two sides, noting that the campaign had appeared eager to accept Russia’s assistance. The report also outlined at least 10 instances involving President Donald Trump that may have constituted obstruction of justice.

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) echoed Van Hollen’s call for a new attorney general on Tuesday, in light of Barr’s behavior. “I think that Barr should resign. If he does not resign, he should be facing impeachment proceedings also. He has abdicated on his responsibility. He’s lied,” she told MSNBC.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), chairman of the intelligence committee, said on Wednesday that Barr “should resign” as he “misled the American people” and Congress.

2020 candidate and former San Antonio mayor Julián Castro, along with Reps. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Steve Cohen (D-TN), and others have also called on Barr to resign.

Castro said Barr should “face an impeachment inquiry” if he does not step down.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), who chairs the oversight committee, tweeted, “Barr misled Congress and the American people to protect the President. There must be consequences. We must see the letter, get the full report and docs, and hear directly from Mueller.”

According to CBS News, protesters placed lights outside the White House on Tuesday night spelling out the words “HUGE LIAR,” and displayed a cardboard cutout of Barr with a sign that said “I lied to the American people for Trump.”

Barr is set to testify before the Senate again on Wednesday.

Correction: A previous version of this article mistakenly identified Julián Castro as a member of Congress. It has been corrected to identify him as a 2020 candidate and former San Antonio mayor.