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Attorney General Barr: “the evidence is now that the President was falsely accused”

Barr Blumenthal
"How did we get to the point here that the evidence is now that the president was falsely accused of being a Russian agent. The allegations have been proven false. To listen to the rhetoric you would think the Mueller report found the opposite," Attorney General William Barr said.

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Senator Mike Crapo: When did DOJ and the FBI learn that the Steele dossier was requested and paid for by the Clinton campaign and DNC?

Barr: I don't know.

Crapo: Are you going to figure that out?

Barr: Yes.

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Barr said he called Mueller after he received his letter. He said their call lasted about 10 to 15 minutes and there were multiple witnesses in the room including Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein.

"Who said what to whom?" Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) asked.

"I said, 'Bob, what's with the letter?' He said that there were concerns with how the media was playing this and they felt the summaries should go out to avoid confusion. I asked if he felt my letter was misleading or inaccurate and he said, 'No, the press coverage was,'" Barr said.

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Barr took a shot at Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team while testifying Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, remarking that Mueller’s March letter was “a bit snitty” and “was probably written by one of his staff people.”

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“Do you share my concerns about the counterintelligence investigation and how it was opened?” Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) asked.

“Yes,” Barr replied.

“Do you share my concerns about the lack of professionalism in the Clinton email investigation?”

“Yes.”

“Do you think the president’s campaign in 2016 was thoroughly looked at in terms of whether or not they colluded with the Russians?”

“Yes.”

“You feel good about your decision?”

“Absolutely.”

“Thank you very much.”

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Sen. Ted Cruz, (R-TX), criticized Democrats’ characterization of Attorney General William Barr as not being forthcoming in his handling of special counsel Robert Mueller's report. “If you’re hiding something, you are doing a lousy job of hiding it,” Cruz told Barr. The Department of Justice on Wednesday released a letter from Mueller dated March 27 that expressed his concerns about public confusion over the report following Barr's summary letter to Congress.

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Barr refused to back down from the use of the word “spying,” insisting that "spying is a good English word that in fact doesn't have synonyms because it is the broadest word incorporating really all forms of covert intelligence collection." Challenged by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) as to whether the term "spying" is used commonly in the Department of Justice, Barr retorted: "It's commonly used by me."

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Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) brings up the FISA warrant and Carter Page.

Barr said he was not sure if Carter Page was under surveillance while working for the Trump campaign.

"I'm working with Chris Wray [FBI director] to reconstruct what went down," Barr said.

"Has the Mueller report confirmed Page met with Igor Sechin?"

"I can't recall that. I want to stay away from the FISA issue because it's under investigation by the DOJ," Barr replied.

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"The Mueller report concluded the evidence did not support criminal charges," Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) said.

"That's right," Barr said.

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"Why did Mueller reach no conclusion on obstruction?" Sen John Kennedy (R-LA) asked.

"We didn't really get a clear understanding of the reasoning," Barr said.

"He chose not to bring an indictment," Kennedy said.

"Right," Barr replied.

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“The job of the Justice Department is now over, that determines whether or not there is a crime, the report is now in the hands of the American people, everyone can decide for themselves, there’s an election in 18 months, that’s a very democratic process but we’re out of it. And we have to stop using the criminal justice process as a political weapon," Barr said.

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