May 3, 2019
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California) is outraged over the Attorney General’s obfuscations—in his written summary of the Mueller report; in his characterization of his communications with the special counsel; and in his congressional testimony.
“What is deadly serious about it is the attorney general of the United States of America was not telling the truth to the Congress of the United States. That’s a crime,” Pelosi said during a press conference in the Capitol.
The remarks came as Democrats on Capitol Hill are increasingly lashing out at Barr for his handling of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russia’s election interference.
Some lawmakers are pressing for Barr to resign; others have floated the idea of impeachment; and still others—chief among them, the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee Jerrold Nadler (D-New York)—are weighing whether to bring contempt of Congress charges against AG, who refused an invitation to testify before the House panel and its counsels on Thursday.
Pelosi, who has been cautious to date about escalating the standoff between her caucus and the GOP, declined to say how—or if—Democrats would challenge Barr’s actions, deferring those decisions to the committee heads. But she strongly suggested some response is forthcoming.
Pelosi cited a recent statement from Representative Nadler, which warned that “Barr’s moment of accountability will come soon enough.”
“I think that probably applies,” Pelosi said. Asked if jail time is appropriate for Barr, she again punted to the committees.
“There’s a process that’s involved here,” she said, according to The Hill. “The committees will act upon how we will proceed.”
Appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, May 1, Barr was grilled by panel Democrats, who accused him of misrepresenting the Mueller team’s findings for the political purpose of protecting President Donald Trump, the news outlet said.
The Democratic rebukes were fueled by revelations that Mueller had written to Barr on March 24 and called him directly on March 25, expressing concerns over the nature of the attorney general’s four-page summary of Mueller’s report.
In that letter, which became public just hours before Wednesday’s Senate hearing, Mueller said ““The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this Office’s work and conclusions.”
Barr, after receiving the letter, testified to Congress that he was ‘”not aware”of any reservations from Mueller or his team regarding the summary letter.
According to the Hill, Pelosi said she “lost sleep” Wednesday night watching replays of Barr’s testimony.
Asked directly whether Barr committed a crime, Pelosi didn’t hesitate.
“He lied to Congress; he lied to Congress. And if anybody else did that, it would be considered a crime,” Pelosi said.
Research contact: @thehill