Barr Snubs House Over Mueller Investigation as Tensions Soar

Watch: AG Barr Testifies About Mueller Report Before Leahy & Rest Of Senate Judiciary

Flood goes on to say in the April 19 letter of complaint that the missive was sent to avoid a "precedent" with "both the President and future Presidents in mind". "That was the time to pull up". "The very system of government of the United States, the system of limited power, the system of not having a president as a dictator is very much at stake", Nadler said. She later used Twitter to call for Barr to resign.

"I said 'Bob, what's with the letter?"

The Senate hearing on Wednesday was contentious, punctuated by tense exchanges between Barr and some senators.

While a contempt vote would make a strong statement, it is unlikely to force the Justice Department to hand over the report.

Republican and Democratic politicians have been anything but unified.

Judiciary committee chair Jerry Nadler is shown before the brief session with Democratic colleague Steve Cohen, who brought with him a bucket of chicken and a rubber chicken.

The report detailed extensive contacts between Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and Moscow and the campaign's expectation that it would benefit from Russia's actions, which included hacking and propaganda to boost Trump and harm Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

As the hearing was getting underway, Mr Trump tweeted his familiar "NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION".

The Mueller report details a series of acts by Mr Trump to impede the Russian Federation probe but does not conclude whether those actions constitute the crime of obstruction. Several news organizations had already reported that some on the special counsel's team believed the evidence against Trump was stronger than Barr had suggested.

The House Judiciary chairman also said he would consider a contempt citation against the attorney-general in the next day or two, if the Justice Department continued to defy the subpoena for the unredacted report. They also allege that he may have provided misleading testimony to Congress about criticism he received from Mr Mueller. Democrats grilled him on the newly leaked letter from Robert Mueller, harshly criticizing his inaccurate summary of Mueller's report.

Barr's response last month appeared to contradict the revelation earlier this week that Mueller himself wrote a formal letter to the attorney general on March 27, in which the special counsel expressed concern that Barr's summary "threatened to undermine. public confidence" in the Russian Federation investigation and did not fully capture his probe's "context, nature, and substance".

Mr Mueller said he had communicated the same concern two days earlier.

In the document, the special counsel stated that Mr Barr's summary "did not fully capture the context, nature and substance" of his report's findings, and caused "public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation". This threatens to undermine a central goal for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: "to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations", Mueller wrote.

In a telephone interview with the Fox Business Network on Wednesday night, Trump praised Barr for his appearance before the committee: "He did a fantastic job today, I'm told, I got to see some of it, he did a fantastic job".

He said repeatedly that Mr Mueller had assured him that Mr Barr's letter of conclusions was not inaccurate but he simply wanted more information out.

"Ladies and gentlemen, the challenge we face is that the president wants desperately to prevent Congress, a co-equal branch of government, from providing any check whatsoever to even his most reckless decisions".

Barr's decision to skip Wednesday's House appearance came after the committee opted for a format with an extra hour of questioning from committee lawyers, in addition to those from the panel's lawmakers.

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