Barr forms team to review FBI's actions in Trump probe

Barr forms team to review FBI's actions in Trump probe

Attorney General William Barr told Congress Tuesday he expects to release his redacted version of the special counsel's Trump-Russia investigation report "within a week", while Democrats criticized his handling of the long-awaited document and demanded he turn it over in full.

Barr bluntly defended his dealing with the report and said portions must remain hidden to comply with the law. He said he's open to eventually releasing some of the redacted material after consulting with congressional leaders, but he drew a line at releasing grand jury material, which would require court approval.

In the House, Barr was squaring off with Democrats who have subpoena power and have already authorized a subpoena in the Judiciary Committee to obtain the full Mueller report and underlying evidence. He said of Barr: "He has been unresponsive to our requests".

Barr will speak to a Senate appropriations subcommittee Wednesday, the second of two days of hearings about his department's budget.

Republicans have called for a careful review as to whether the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in violation of Page's constitutional rights and Federal Bureau of Investigation procedures, misled the FISA court or withheld exculpatory information, and Barr testified that a DOJ review of the FBI's FISA practices was in progress.

Barr said his authority came from the regulation that sets up the Special Counsel, which provides for the Special Counsel report to go to him, and for him to decide what to release, consistent with longstanding DOJ policy.

His comments risked inflaming Democratic concerns that Barr's views are overly in sync with Trump's and that he's determined to protect the president as he readies the release of a version of Mueller's report.

Special counsel Robert Mueller investigated the Trump campaign for about two years
CLIFF OWEN SUPPLIEDSpecial counsel Robert Mueller investigated the Trump campaign for about two years

The ostensible objective of the hearing was questioning Barr about the budgetary requests of the Department of Justice, but committee members wasted no time addressing what chairman Rep. José Serrano, D-N.Y., called "the elephant in the room".

LUCAS: Right. So during the hearing today, Democrats - they did raise concerns about how these redactions are being handled and how sweeping these redactions could be.

Barr reminded Tuesday's House panel he plans to release Mueller's report "within a week", a fact that has little hope of silencing the mounting accusations of a cover-up that have issued from the anti-Trump "Resistance" ever since the AG released a three-page summary of the report which appeared to exonerate the president of collusion charges without making a clear statement about his guilt on obstruction charges. While Barr's letter said the special counsel did not find a criminal conspiracy between Russian Federation and Trump associates during the 2016 election, it also said Mueller had presented evidence on both sides of the obstruction question and ultimately did not reach a conclusion on it.

Barr said "the letter speaks for itself" and revealed that he gave Mueller an opportunity to review the letter but the special counsel declined. And while he generally stayed cool under fire, he actually revealed quite a few new pieces of information about the national mystery surrounding his intentions with respect to the release of the Mueller report.

"I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal", Barr said.

Attorney General Bill Barr was hired to manage the cover-up of Donald Trump and his campaign's ties to Russian efforts to undermine American democracy.

Barr said in the summary released last month that Mueller did not reach a conclusion on whether the president obstructed justice, instead presenting evidence on both sides of the question.

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