Published: Sun, April 14, 2019
Medicine | By Tracy Klein

Attorney general says 'spying on a political campaign is a big deal'

Attorney general says 'spying on a political campaign is a big deal'

Barr is appearing before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee one day after he testified before a House subcommittee and answered many - though not all - questions from lawmakers about the release of Mueller's almost 400 page report.

The Mueller report is not the objective of the meeting, and in a prepared statement released ahead of the session Barr does not mention it.

He added that he is relying on his own discretion to make as much public as he can.

He said he would redact sections of the report that contained grand jury testimony, details to protect intelligence sources and methods, and information pertaining to ongoing or future investigations.

Though he said the document will be redacted to withhold negative information about peripheral figures in the investigation, Barr said that would not apply to Trump, who is an officeholder and central to the probe.

"I can envision a situation where, under appropriate safeguards, that information would be shared", Barr said, referring to the redactions generally. "So they will be identifiable", Barr said.

Though Barr said at his January confirmation hearing that he didn't believe Mueller would be involved in a witch hunt, he struck a different tone Wednesday and said it "depends on where you're sitting". The letter said that Mueller did not find a criminal conspiracy between Russian Federation and Trump associates, and that Barr did not believe the evidence in the report was sufficient to prove the president had obstructed justice.

On his program Tuesday, Limbaugh said Democrats are being "driven mad", and they can not accept that there is no Trump-Russia collusion nor a conspiracy at the Justice Department to cover it up.

The White House is saying Democrats will never see Trump's tax returns, and in case "you don't speak rich nerd", Noah said, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin just explained the Trump administrations's game plan: "They're just going to keep reviewing this request until Trump isn't president anymore".

CHANG: OK. So other than the timeline of the release, what else did we learn from Barr today on the Mueller report?

Barr also wrote that Mueller's office neither fully implicated nor exonerated Trump on the question of obstruction of justice; Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein decided Mueller's findings were "not sufficient", as Barr wrote. Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) asked the attorney general how it came to be that a "salacious and unverified dossier" was used to spy on an American citizen.

The FBI's July 2016 counterintelligence investigation was formally opened by anti-Trump former FBI agent Peter Strzok.

But he also said that he's willing to talk to lawmakers down the road to see if he can provide them with more information from the investigation.

"We've done everything we could for the last weeks and weeks to try to reach an accommodation with the attorney general under which we would see the report and the underlying evidence", Nadler said. "I also think under appropriate safeguards, there is a way of people verifying these categories (of redactions) were not abused".

CHANG: Yeah. OK. So beyond the Mueller report, Barr mentioned another investigation today related to the Russian Federation probe.

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