AG under pressure to release evidence clearing Trump

Rep. Hank Johnson Georgia Democrat

They have zeroed in on Mueller's decision to punt on whether Trump had obstructed justice, which Barr said "leaves it to the attorney general to determine". He criticized Rep. Jerry Nadler, the Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, for comments the New York Democrat made on "Face the Nation" minutes earlier denouncing Barr as a "bias defender" of the president. "And they're going to want another thousand pages that went into making that", he said on "Fox News Sunday".

"You can spend hours parsing the Carr statement", Miller wrote, referring to the Mueller team spokesman Peter Carr, "but given how unusual it is for any DOJ office to issue this sort of on the record denial, let alone this office, suspect it means the story's core contention that they have evidence Trump told Cohen to lie is fundamentally wrong".

Last week news reports suggested that members of Mueller's team are frustrated with Barr's letter, which they saw as oversimplifying their more complicated findings.

"Although the President would have the right to assert privilege over certain parts of the report, " Barr wrote, "he has stated publicly that he intends to defer to me, and, accordingly, there are no plans to submit the report to the White House for a privilege review".

Perhaps the biggest political risk for Trump is the special counsel's supporting evidence behind Mueller's assertion that while the report does not conclude the Republican president committed the crime of obstruction of justice it "also does not exonerate him" on that point. "This is a political show by the Democrats". "I fully agree. Special Counsel Mueller should come before the Committee to answer questions in public about his 22 month investigation into President Trump and his associates", Nadler said in a tweet. Still, Trump has appeared to celebrate Barr's letter, claiming it to be a "total and complete exoneration".

Trump chose the veteran Republican lawyer to lead the Justice Department after firing his predecessor Jeff Sessions, whom the president resented for recusing himself from oversight of the Russian Federation probe.

More news: Compelling Chinese firms to buy American could increase U.S. vulnerabilities

In June 2018, with Mr Sessions' job already known to be imperilled, Mr Barr sent an unsolicited legal memo to the Justice Department and White House, strongly criticising the Mueller investigation and its impingement on the president's prerogatives.

But Barr's phrasing in that letter is somewhat ambiguous.

Mueller's entire report and any exhibits and other underlying evidence that the Justice Department might withhold.

All of those categories give Barr significant latitude to decide what to leave in and what to take out of the report's public version, none more so than the grand jury material.

In an odd stroke of timing, the federal appeals court in Washington issued a ruling Friday in an unrelated case that buttresses the argument for keeping a close hold on grand jury information.

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