On Thursday morning, Attorney General William Barr held a press conference discussing the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election.
After Barr confirmed that “the special counsel found no evidence that any American, including anyone associated with the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government,” he took questions from the media.
A reporter from CBS News, Paula Reid, suggested to Barr that he has been partial and is “going out of his way” to “protect” and run interference for Trump.
“You cleared the president on obstruction, the president is fundraising off of your comments about spying, and, here, you have remarks that are quite generous to the president, including acknowledging his feelings and his emotions. What do you say to people on both sides of the aisle that you are trying to protect the president?” asked Reid.
Barr fired back at the reporter, informing her that his remarks about Trump’s personal pushback are referenced in Mueller’s report.
“Well actually the statement about his sincere beliefs are recognized in the report — that there was substantial evidence for that. So I’m not sure what your basis is for saying that I am being ‘generous’ to the president,” the attorney general said.
Reid responded, “It’s an unprecedented situation. … It just seems like there is a lot of effort to say — to go out of your way, to acknowledge —”
“Well, is there another precedent for it?” Barr shot back.
“No,” the reporter acknowledged.
“Okay, so unprecedented is an accurate description for it, isn’t it?” he said.
“Yes,” Reid answered.
Barr then moved on to other questions.
During the briefing, Barr also made it clear that Trump’s “personal lawyers were not permitted to make and did not request any redactions” and that the president did not assert executive privilege.
However, Democrats are not quite done with Trump-Russia mania quite yet. As reported by The Daily Wire on Thursday, Democrat leadership is demanding that Mueller testify before Congress. Notably, Barr said he would be fine with this when asked by the media on Monday.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said in a joint statement that Mueller must testify due to Barr’s alleged partisan handling of the report.
“Attorney General [William] Barr’s regrettably partisan handling of the Mueller report, including his slanted March 24th summary letter, his irresponsible testimony before Congress last week, and his indefensible plan to spin the report in a press conference later this morning – hours before he allows the public or Congress to see it – have resulted in a crisis of confidence in his independence and impartiality,” a statement from the Democrats said.
CBS News’ Paula Reid to AG Barr: “Here, you have remarks that are quite generous to the president, including acknowledging his feelings and his emotions. What do you say to people on both sides of the aisle that you are trying to protect the president?” https://t.co/2AcTw6G473 pic.twitter.com/Mri15UAf8A
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) April 18, 2019