Democrats are pressuring Attorney General William Barr to resign, with at least six 2020 presidential candidates arguing he needs to step down because he misled Congress and the public.
Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kamala Harris of California, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro all called on Barr to resign amid revelations that special counsel Robert Mueller objected to Barr’s memo on the Russia investigation.
South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is also seeking the Democratic nod, had previously called on Barr to “step aside” last month.
The mounting calls came as Barr testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday about Mueller’s 448-page report on the two-year Russia investigation. A number of Democrats specifically focused their questions on the late-breaking Tuesday report that Mueller sent a letter and later spoke to Barr by phone, complaining that the attorney general’s memo “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of the special counsel’s conclusions.
“The Attorney General does not swear an oath of loyalty to any one individual. The AG swears an oath of loyalty to the Constitution of the United States. Barr has made clear that he doesn’t swear his loyalty that way & that disqualifies him from being AG. He should resign,” Warren tweeted Wednesday afternoon.
Harris, one of the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, pressed Barr during the hearing about whether he “personally reviewed” the evidence in Mueller’s report to help him determine if Trump obstructed justice. The attorney general said he didn’t and “accepted the statements in the report as the factual record.” After the hearing, Harris said he should resign.
“No prosecutor worth her salt would make a decision on whether he was involved in obstruction of justice without reviewing the evidence,” Harris said after the hearing, according to CNN. “This attorney general lacks all credibility and I think has compromised the public’s ability to believe he is a purveyor of justice.”
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, one of the highest profile Democrats in the lower chamber, also said that he believes Barrhe should step down, adding that he believes the attorney generalBarr made “deliberately false and misleading” statements.
Mueller’s report concluded that Russia and Trump’s campaign didn’t conspire in the 2016 election. And while the special counsel couldn’t conclude Trump committed a crime, it also didn’t exonerate him on obstruction of justice.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Barr repeatedly defended his four-page memo prior to the release of Mueller’s redacted report. He argued that the special counsel was “very clear [he’s] not suggesting we had misrepresented his report.” Barr said he spoke to Mueller after he sent the letter to see if there were any inaccuracies.
“I called Bob and said, ‘Yyou know, what’s the issue here?’ I asked him if he was suggesting that the March 24 letter was inaccurate. And he said ‘no,’ but that the press reporting had been inaccurate, and that the press was reading too much into it,” Barr testified.