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tv   William Barr Testifies on Mueller Report Before Senate Judiciary Committee...  CSPAN  May 1, 2019 8:00pm-12:09am EDT

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book is available as a carbon cover -- hardcover or e-book. c-span,g up tonight on attorney general william barr's testimony on the mueller report findings before the senate judiciary committee. senators react to the attorney general's testimony following the hearing. we hear from house judiciary committee members who previewed their questions for the attorney general at thursday's hearing. the attorney general has announced he will not appear before the democratic led committee following disagreements over the procedures for questions. attorney general william barr testified on the report released by special counsel robert mueller on his investigation into russia's interference in the 2016 election. this was to be the first of two hill appearances this week. mr. barr has pulled out of his testimony before the house judiciary committee on thursday. he answered questions from the
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senate judiciary committee on how his office handled the release of the mueller report and other investigations that resulted from the special counsel's investigation. this portion of the hearing includes opening statements from the committee's leaders and the attorney general. >> the hearing will come to order. the first order of business is to try to cool the room down. we'll see if we can do that. the attorney general will be testifying here in a bit. about the mueller report. i want to thank him for coming to the committee and giving us an explanation as to the actions
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he took and why he took them regarding the mueller report. here's the good news. here's the mueller report. it for it's about 400 pages. can't say i've read it all. i've read most of it. it's about 400 and something pages. i can't say i've read it all but i've read most of it. there's an unredacted version over in the classified section of the senate, a room where you can go look at the unredacted version and i did that and i found it not to change anything in terms of an outcome. but a bit about the mueller report. who is mueller? for those who may not know, i don't know where you've been but you may want know that bob mueller has a reputation in this town and throughout the country as being an outstanding lawyer
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and a man of the law who as the fbi director, who was the deputy attorney general, who was in charge of the criminal division at the department of justice, was a united states marine and he has served his country in a variety of circumstances long and well. for those who took time to read the report, i think it was well written, very thorough. let me tell you what went into this report. there were 19 lawyers employed, approximately 40 fbi agents, intel analysts, forensic accountants and other staff, 2800 subpoenas issued, 500 witnesses interviewed. 500 search warrants executed, more than 230 orders for
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communication, records so the records could be obtained. 13 requests to foreign governments for evidence, over $25 million spent over two years. we may not agree on much, but i hope we can agree that he had ample resources, took a lot of time and talked to a lot of people. and you can read for yourself what he found. the attorney general will tell us a bit about what his opinion of the report is. in terms of interacting with the white house, the white house turned of to mr. mueller 1.4 million documents and records, never asserted executive privilege one time, over 20 white house staffers including eight from the white house counsel's office were interviewed voluntarily.
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don mcgahn, chief counsel for the white house, was interviewed for over 30 hours. everybody that they wanted to talk to from the trump campaign on the ground, they were able to talk to. the president submitted himself to written interrogatories. so to the american people, mr. mueller was the right guy to do this job. i always believe that attorney general sessions was conflicted out because he was part of the campaign. he was the right guy with ample resources and the cooperation he needed to find out what happened was given, in my view. but there were two campaigns in 2016 and we'll talk about the second one in a minute. so what have we learned from this report? after all this time and all this
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money, mr. mueller and his team concluded there was no collusion. i didn't know, like many of you here, on the republican side we all agreed that mr. mueller should be allowed to do his job without interference. i joined with some colleagues on the other side to introduce legislation to protect the special counsel that he could only be removed for cause. he was never removed. he was allowed to do his job. so no collusion, no coordination, no conspiracy between the trump campaign and the russian government regarding the 2016 election. as to obstruction of justice, mr. mueller left it to mr. barr to decide after two years and all this time, he said, mr. barr, you decide. mr. barr did. there are a bunch of lawyers on
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this committee and i will tell you the following. you have tor specific inte havet to obstruct justice. the president never did anything to stop mueller from doing his job. so i guess the theory goes now okay, he didn't collude with the russians and he didn't specifically do anything to stop mueller, but attempts obstruction of justice of a crime that never occurred i guess is sort of the new standard around here. we'll see if that makes any sense. to me it doesn't. there was another campaign. it was the clinton campaign. what have we learned from this report? the russians interfered in our election. so can some bipartisanship come out of this? i hope so. i intend to work with my
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colleagues on the other side to introduce the deter act and to introduce legislation to defend the integrity of the voting system. senator durbin and i have legislation that would deny anyone admittance into the united states a visa in the immigration system if they were involved in interfering in an american election. working with senator white house and blumenthal to make sure if you hack into a state election system, even though it's not tied to the internet, that's a crime. i would like to do more to harden our infrastructure because the russians did it. it wasn't some 400 pound guy sitting on a bed somewhere. it was the russians. and they're still doing it. it could be the chinese, it could be somebody next. so my take-away from this report is that we've got a lot of work to do to defend democracy against the russians and other bad actors. i promise the committee we will
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get on with that work, hopefully in a beeps fashiobipartisan fas. the other campaign. the other campaign was investigated not by mr. mueller, by people within the department of justice. the accusation against secretary clinton was that she set a private server up somewhere in her house and classified information was on it to avoid the disclosure requirements and transparency requirements required of being secretary of state. so that was investigated. what do you know? we know that the person in charge of investigating hated trump's guts. i don't know how mr. mueller felt about trump, but i don't think anybody on our side believes that he had a personal animosity toward the president to the point that he couldn't do
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his job. this is what strzok said on february 12th, 2016. he's in charge of the e-mail investigation. oh he, trump's abysmal. i keep hoping the charade will end and people will just dump him. february 12th, 2016, page is the department of justice halawyer assigned to this case. march 3rd, 2016, god trump is a loath loath loathessome human being. strzok, god hillary should win. compare those two people to mueller. march 16, 2016, i cannot believe trump is likely to be an actual serious candidate for president. july 21, 2016, trump is a disaster. i have no idea how destabilizing his presidency would be. august 28th, 2016, three days
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before strzok was made deputy acting in charge of the counter intelligence division of the fbi. he's never going to become president, right? page to strzok, no, no, he won't. we'll stop him. these are the people investigating the clinton e-mail situation and start the counter intelligence investigation of the trump campaign. compare them to mueller. august the 15th, 2016, strzok, i want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in andy's office that there's no way he gets elected, but i'm afraid we can't take that risk. it's like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you're 40. august 26th, 2016, just went to the southern virginia walmart.
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i could smell the trump support. october the 19th, 2016, trump is a fucking idiot. he's unable to provide a coherent answer. sorry to the kids out there. these are the people that made a decision that clinton didn't do anything wrong and that counter intelligence investigation of the trump campaign was warranted. we're going to in a bipartisan way, i hope, deal with russia. but when the mueller report is put to bed and it soon will be, this committee is going to look long and hard at how this all started. we're going to look at the fisa warrant process. did russia provide christopher steel the information about trump that was used to get a warrant on an american citizen and if so, how did the system
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fail. was there a real effort between papadopoulos and anybody in russia to use the clinton e-mails stolen by the russians, or is that thought planted in his mind? i don't know, but we're going to look. and i can tell you this, if you change the names, y'all would want to look too. everything i just said just substitute clinton for trump. see what all these people with cameras would be saying out here about this. as to cooperation in the clinton investigation, i told you what the trump people did. tell you a little bit about what the clinton people did. there was a protective order for the server issued by the house and there was a request by the state department to preserve all the information on the server.
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paul cambetta after having the protective order used a software program called bleach bit to wipe this e-mail server clean. has anybody ever heard of paul cambetta? no. under a protective order from the house to preserve the information, under a request from the state department to preserve the information on the server, he used a bleach bit program to wipe it clean. what happened to him? nothing. 18 devices possessed by secretary clinton she used to do business as secretary. how many of them were turned over to the fbi? none. two of them couldn't be turned of because judith casper took a hammer and destroyed two of them.
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what happened to her? nothing. the bottom line is we're about to hear from mr. barr the results of a two-year investigation into the trump campaign, all things russia, the actions the president took before and after the campaign, $25 million, 40 fbi agents. i appreciate very much what mr. mueller did for the country. i have read most of the report. for me, it is over. senator feinstein. >> thank you, mr. chairman. welcome, attorney general. on march 24th you sent a letter
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to chairman graham and the ranking member of this committee providing your summary of the principal conclusions set out in special counsel mueller's report. this report was widely characterized as a win for the president and was confirming there was no collusion. following this letter the white house put out a statement declaring, and i quote, the special counsel did not find any collusion and did not find any obstruction, end quote, and that the report, quote, was a total and complete exoneration, end quote, of the president. however, last night the "washington post" reported that special counsel mueller sent you a letter in late march where he said your letter to congress failed to, quote, fully capture the context, nature and substance of his office's work
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and conclusions, end quote. and that he spoke with you about the concern that the letter threatened to undermine the public confidence in the outcome of the investigations. that's in quotes as well. then on april 18th, you held a press conference where you announced repeatedly that the mueller report found no collusion and no evidence of a crime. an hour later, a redacted copy of the mueller report was provided to the public and the congress. and we saw why mueller was concerned. contrary to the declarations of the total and complete exoneration, the special counsel's report contained substantial evidence of misconduct. first, special counsel mueller's report confirms that the russian government implemented a social media campaign to mislead millions of americans and that
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russian intelligence services hacked into the dnc and the dccc computers, stole e-mails and memos and systemically released them to impact the presidential election. your march letter stated that there was no evidence that the trump campaign, quote, conspired or coordinated with russia, end quote. however, the report outlined substantial evidence that the trump campaign welcomed, encouraged and expected to benefit electorally from russia's interference in the election. the mueller report also details how time and time again the trump campaign took steps to gain advantage from russia's unlawful interference. for example, president trump's campaign manager paul manafort passed internal campaign polling
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data, messaging and strategy updates to constantikonstantin a russian national with ties to russian intelligence. the mueller report explains how paul manafort briefed kilimnik in early august of 2016 on, and i quote, the state of the trump campaign and manafort's plan to win the election, end quote, including the campaign's focus on the battleground states of michigan, wisconsin, pennsylvania and minnesota. next, the mueller report documents the trump campaign's communications regarding secretary clinton's and the dnc's stolen e-mails, specifically the report states, and i quote, within approximately five hours of president trump calling on russia to find secretary
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clinton's e-mails, russian intelligence agency gru officers, quote, targeted for the first time clinton's personal office, end quote. the mueller report also revealed that president trump repeatedly asked individual affiliated with his campaign, including michael flynn, quote, to find the deleted clinton e-mails, end quote. these efforts included suggestions to contact foreign intelligence services, russian hackers and individuals on the dark web. the report confirms that trump knew of wikileaks releases of the stolen e-mails and received status updates about upcoming releases while his campaign promoted coverage of the leaks. donald trump jr. communicated
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directly with wikileaks and at its request publicly tweeted a link to e-mails stolen from clinton's campaign manager. second, in your march letter to congress you concluded, and i quote, that the evidence is not sufficient to establish that the president committed an obstruction of justice offense, end quote. however, special counsel mueller methodically outlined ten episodes, some continuing multiple actions by the president to mislead the american people and interfere with the investigations into russian interference and obstruction. in one example the president repeatedly called white house counsel don mcgahn at home and directed him to fire mueller saying, quote, mueller has to go, call me back when you do it.
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then later the president repeatedly orders mcgahn to release a press statement and write a letter saying the president did in the order mueller fired. the mueller report also outlines efforts by president trump to influence witness democrat and deter cooperation with law enforcement. for example, the president's team communicated to witnesses that pardons would be available if they, quote, stayed on message, end quote and remained, quote, on the team, end quote. in one case, the president sent messages through his personal lawyers to paul manafort that he would be taken care of and just, quote, sit tight, end quote. the president then publicly affirmed this communication by
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stating that manafort was, quote, a brave man, end quote, for refusing to break. similarly, the mueller report stated the president used inducements in the form of positive messages in an effort to get michael cohen not to cooperate and then turned to attacks the and intimidation to deter the provision of information or undermine cohen's credibility. finally, while the march letter to congress and the april press conference left the impression there were no remaining questions to examine, this report notes several limitations mueller faced while gathering the facts that congress needed to examine. more than once the report documents that legal conclusions were not drawn because witnesses refused to answer questions or
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failed to recall the events. in addition, numerous witnesses including but not limited to jared kushner, sarah sanders, rudy giuliani, michael flynn, steve bannon and john kelly allstated they could not recall events. the president himself said more than 30 times that he could not recall or remember enough to be able to answer written questions from the special counsel. the special counsel also recounted that, quote, some associated with the trump campaign deleted relevant communications or communicated during the relevant period using applications that featured encryption or do not provide for long-term retention of data, end quote.
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based on these gaps the mueller report concluded, and i quote again, the office cannot rule out the possibility that the unavailable information would have shed additional light on or cast a new light on events described in the report, end quote. and contrary to the conclusion that the special counsel's report did not find evidence of communication or coordination between the trump campaign and russia, the mueller report explicitly states, and i quote, a statement that the investigation did not establish particular facts does not mean there was no evidence of those facts. volume 2, page 2. let me conclude with this. congress has both the constitutional duty and the authority to investigate the serious findings contained in the mueller report. i strongly believe that this
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committee need to hear directly from special counsel mueller about his views on the report in his march letter. i also believe senators should have the opportunity to ask him about these subjects in questions directly. i have requested this to our chairman to authorize a hearing with special counsel mueller and i hope that will happen soon. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. before we receive your testimony, mr. barr, we have the letter that mr. mueller sent to you on march 27th, 2019. i'll put that in the report now. the floor is yours. >> got to swear you in. sorry. do you solemnly swear the testimony you're about to give this committee is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you god?
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>> yes. >> sorry about that. >> thank you, mr. chairman and ranking member feinstein, members of the committee. during my confirmation process, there were two concerns that dominated, as i think you will all agree. the first was whether i would in any way impede or curtail special counsel mueller's investigation and the second, whether i would make public his final report. as you see bob mueller was allowed to complete his work as he saw fit. and as to the report, even though the applicable regular haitians require that the report is to be made to the ag and is to remain confidential and not be made public, i told this committee that i intended to exercise whatever discretion i had to make as much of the report available to the public
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and to congressional leaders as i could consistent with the law. this has been done. i arrived at the department on february 14th and shortly thereafter i asked it to be communicated to bob mueller's team that in preparing the report we requested that they make it so we could ready identify 6e material so we could quickly process the report. >> could you tell the public what 6e is? >> 6e is grand jury material that cannot be made public. it's prohibited by statute. i wanted that identified so we could redact that material and prepare the report for public release as quickly as we could. when i arrived at the department i found and was eventually briefed in on the investigation. i found that the deputy attorney general and his principal associate deputy at o -- werhad
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discussions about the timing of the report and the nature of the report. on march 5th, i met with bob at the suggestion of the deputy and the principal associate deputy. i met with bob mueller to get a read-out on what his conclusions would be. on march 25th -- and at that meeting i reiterated to special counsel mueller that in order to have the shortest possible time before i was in a position to release the report, i asked that they identify 6e material. when i received the report on
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march 22nd and we were hoping to have that easily identified, the 6e material, unfortunately it did not come in that form. it quickly became apparent that it would take about three or four weeks to identify that material and over material that had to be redacted. so there was necessary hi goiil to be a gap between the receipt of the report and getting the full report out publicly. the deputy and i identified four categories of information that we believe require redaction. i think you all know of them, but they were the gararand jury material, information that the intelligence community advised would reveal sensitive sources an methods, information that if revealed at this stage would impinge on the investigation or prosecution of related cases and information that would unfairly affect the privacy and reputational interests of
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peripheral third parties. we went about redacting this material in concert with the special counsel's office. we needed their assistance to identify the 6e material in particular. the redactions were all carried out by doj lawyers with special counsel lawyers in consultation with intelligence community. the report contained a substantial amount of material over which the president could have asserted executive privilege but the president made the decision not to assert executive privilege and make public as much of the report as we could subject to the redactions we thought required. now, as you see, the report has been lightly redacted. the public version has been estimated to have only 10% redactio redactions. the vast bulk of those redactions are in volume one
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which is the volume that deals with collusion and it relates to existing ongoing cases. volume two had only about 2% redactions for the public version. so 98% of volume two dealing with obstruction is available to the public. we have made a version of the report available to congressional leaders that only contains redactions of grand jury material. for this version, overall redactions are less than 2% for the whole report and for volume two dealing with obstruction they are less than .1 of 1%. given the limited nature of redactions i believe that the publicly released report will allow every american to understand the results of the special counsel's work. by now everyone is familiar with the special counsel's bottom line conclusions about the russian attempts to interfere in
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the election. in volume one the special counsel found that the russians engaged in two distinct schemes. first the internet research agency, a russian entity with close ties to the russian government conduct add disinformation and social media operation to sow discord amongst americans. second the gru, russian military intelligence, hacked into computers and stole e-mails from individuals affiliated with the democratic party and hillary clinton's campaign. the special counsel investigated whether anyone affiliated with president trump's campaign conspired or coordinated with these criminal schemes. they concluded that there was not sufficient evidence to establish that there had been any conspiracy or coordination with the russian government or the i.r.a. as you know volume two of his
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report dealt with obstruction and the special counsel considered whether certain actions of the president could amount to obstruction. he decided not to reach a conclusion. instead the report recounts ten episodes and discusses potential legal theories for connecting the president's actions to elements of obstruction offenses. now, we first heard that the special counsel's decision not to decide the obstruction issue at the march 5th meeting when he came over to the department and we were frankly surprised that they were not going to reach a decision on obstruction. and we asked them a lot about the reasoning behind this and the basis for this. special counsel mueller stated three times to us in that meeting in response to our questioning that he emphatically was not saying that but for the olp opinion he would have found obstruction. he said that in the future the facts of a case against a
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president might be such that a special counsel would recommend abandoning the olc opinion but this is not such a case. we did not understand exactly why the special counsel was not reaching a decision. and when we pressed him on it, he said that his team was still formulating the explanation. once we heard that the special counsel was not reaching a conclusion on obstruction, the deputy and i discussed and agreed that the department had to reach a decision. we had the responsibility to assess the evidence as set forth in the report and to make the judgment. i say this because the special counsel was appointed to carry out the investigative and prosecutorial functions of the department and to do it as part of the department of justice. the powers he was using including the power of using a grand jury and using compulsory process exist for that purpose, the function of the department
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of justice in this arena, which is to determine whether or not there has been criminal conduct. it's a binary decision. is there enough evidence to show a crime and do we believe a crime has been committed. we don't conduct criminal investigations just to collect information and put it out to the public. we do so to make a decision. and here we thought there was an additional reason, which was this was a very public investigation and we had made clear that the results of the investigation were going to be made public and the deputy and i felt that the evidence developed by the special counsel was not sufficient to establish that the president committed a crime and therefore it would be irresponsible and unfair for the department to release a report without stating the department's conclusions and thus leave it hanging as to whether the department considered there had been criminal conduct. so the deputy attorney general and i conducted a careful review of the report with our staffs
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and legal advisors. and while we disagreed with some of the legal theories and felt that many of the episodes discussed in the report would not constitute obstruction as a matter of law, we didn't rest our decision on that. we took each of the ten episodes and we assessed them against the analytical framework that had been set forth by the special counsel and we concluded that the evidence developed during the special counsel's investigation was not sufficient to establish that the president committed an obstruction of justice offense. let me take a little bit about this march 24th letter and bob mueller's letter which i received on the 28th. when i report came in on the 22nd and we saw it was going to take a great deal of time to get it out to the public, i made the determination that we had to put out some information about the
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bottom line. the body politic was in a high state of agitation. this was massive interest in learning what the bottom line results of bob mueller's investigation was, particularly as to collusion. former government officials were confidently predicting that the president and members of his family were going to be indicted. there were people suggesting that if it took any time to turn around the report and get it out, it would mean that the president was in legal jeopardy. so i didn't feel that it was in the public interest to allow this to go on for several weeks without saying anything so i decided to simply state what the bottom line conclusions were, which is what the department normally does, make a binary determination is there a crime or isn't there a crime. we prepared the letter for that purpose to state the bottom line conclusions.
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we used the language from the report to state those bottom line conclusions. i analogize it to announcing after an extended trial what the verdict of the trial is pending release of the full transcript. that's what we were trying to do, notify the people as to the bottom line conclusion. we were not trying to summarize the 410-page report. so i offered bob mueller the opportunity to review that letter before it went out and he declined. on thursday morning i received -- probably it was received at the department wednesday night or evening. but on thursday morning i received a letter from bob, the letter that's just been put into the record. and i called bob and said, you
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know, what's the issue here? and i asked him if he was suggesting that the march 24th 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. i asked him specifically what his concern was. and he said that his concern focused on his explanation of why he did not reach a conclusion on obstruction. and he wanted more put out on that issue. he argued for putting out summaries of each volume, the executive summaries that had been written by his office. and if not that, then other material that focused on the issue of why he didn't reach the obstruction question but he was very clear with me that he was not suggesting that we had
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misrepresented his report. i told bob that i was not interested in putting out summaries and i wasn't going to put out the report piecemeal. i wanted to get the whole report out and i thought summaries by very definition regardless of who prepared them would be under inclusive and we'd have a series of different debates and public discord over each traunch of information that went out and i wanted to get everything out at once and we should start working on that. so the following day i put out a letter explaining the process we were following and stressing that the march 24th letter was not a summary of the report but a statement of the principal conclusions and that people would be able to see bob mueller's entire thinking when
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the report was made public. i'll end my statement there, mr. chairman. gh glad to take any questions. >> thank you very much. as to the actual report itself, was there ever an occasion where something was redacted from the report that mr. mueller objected to? >> i wouldn't say objected to. hi understanding is the categories were defined by me and the deputy. i don't believe -- >> did you work with him to redact the report? >> right. those categories were executed by doj lawyers working with his lawyers. i think there were maybe a few judgment calls, very few, as to whether or not as a prudential matter should be treated as a reputational interest or
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something. so there may have been some occasions of that. >> as i understand it you did not want it to hurt somebody's reputation unless it affected the outcome. >> right. >> was there any disagreement about 6e material? >> not that i'm aware of. >> any disagreement about classified information? >> not that i'm aware of. >> so the conclusions in your four-page summary you think accurately reflect his bottom line on collusion, is that correct? >> yes. >> you can read it for yourself if you've got any doubt. as to obstruction of justice, were you surprised he was going to let you decide? >> yes, i was surprised. i think the function he was carrying out, the investigative and procesecutive function -- >> how many people did he
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actually indict? >> i can't remember off the top of my head. >> it was a lot. >> so he has the ability to indict if he wants to, he used that power during the investigation, is that correct? >> that is correct. the other thing that was confusing to me was that the investigation carried out for a while as additional episodes were looked into, episodes involving the president. so my question is or was why were those investigated if at the end of the day you weren't going to reach a decision on them? >> so did you consult deputy attorney general rosenstein about the obstruction matter? >> constantly. >> was he in agreement with your decision not to proceed forward? >> yes. i'm sorry, the agreement what? >> not to proceed forward with the obstruction. >> right. >> so very quickly give us your reasoning why you think it would be inappropriate to proceed forward on obstruction of justice in this case.
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>> well, generally speaking an obstruction case typically has two aspects to it. one, there's usually an underlying criminality. >> let's stop right there. was there an underlying crime here? >> no. >> so usually there is? >> usually. but it's not necessary but sort of the paradigmatic case is there's an underlying crime and the person or people implicated are concerned about that criminality being discovered, take an inherently malignant act as the supreme court has said to obstruct that investigation such as destroying documents. >> -- people were worried about that he fired comey to stop the russia investigation. that's one of the concerns people had. let me tell you a little bit about comey. i do not have confidence in him, comey, any longer.
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that was chuck schumer, november 2nd, 2016. i think he, comey, should take a hard look at what he has done and i think it would not be a bad thing for the american people if he did step down, bernie sanders, january 15th, 2017. the president ought to fire comey immediately. and he ought to initiate an investigation. that is congressman nadler, november 14th, 2016. did you have a problem with the waco my comey handled the clint e-mail investigation? >> yes. i said so at the time. >> okay. so given the fact that a lot of people thought comey should be fired, did you find that to be a per swsuasive act of obstructin justice? >> no. i think even the report at the end of the day came to the conclusion if you read the
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analysis that a reason that loomed large there for his termination was his his refusa tell the public what he was privately telling the president, which was that the president was not under investigation. as to how go forward, would you recommend that this committee and every committee in congress do our best to harden our interests against future rub shan -- russian attacks? >> yes. >> do you think they're still up to it? >> yes. >> do you think other countries will be involved in getting involved in our election in 2020? >> yes. >> is that a take away from the mueller report? >> yes. >> do you share my concerns about the fisa warrant process? >> yes. >> do you share my concerns about the investigation how and why it was opened?
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>> do you share my concerns that the lack of professionalism in the e-mail investigation is something we should look at? >> yes. >> do you expect to change your mind about the bottom line conclusions of the mueller report? >> no. >> do you know bob moouleuler? >> yes. >> do you trust him? >> yes. >> how long have you known him? >> 30 years, roughly. >> do you think he had the time and money he needed? >> yes. >> the resources he needed? >> yes. >> do you think he did a thorough job? >> yes, and i think he feels he did a thorough job and had adequate evidence to make the calls. >> do you think the president's campaign in 2016 was thoroughly looked at as to whether or not they colluded with the russians? >> yes. >> and the answer is no according to bob mueller? >> that's right. >> he could not decide about ob instruction and you did, is that right? >> yes.
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>> do you feel good about your decision? >> absolutely. >> thank you very much. >> chairman, mr. attorney general, the special counselcou report describes how the president directs don mcgahn to fire special council mueller and later told mcgahn to write a letter for our record stating that the president had not ordered him to fire mueller. it also recounts how the president made repeated efforts to get mcgahn to change his story. knowing that the president believes mcgahn's recollection of the results were false, that the president tried to change mcgahn's account to prevent further scrutiny of the president forward the investigation. special counsel also found that
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mcgahn is an incredible witness that can lie and exaggerate given the position he had in the white house. does existing law prohibit efforts to get a witness to lie, to say something the witness believes is false? >> yes. lie to the government, yes. >> and what law is that? >> the obstruction statutes. >> the obstruction statutes. i assume you don't have it before you? >> it was probably 1512 c 2. >> so these things in effect constitute obstruction. >> you're talking in general terms. >> what i'm talking about specifically, yes, you're correct in a sense that it is the special counsel in his
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report found substantial evidence that the president tried to change mcgahn's account in order to prevent further skroo scrutiny of the president forward the investigation. and they found that mcgahn was a credible witness with no moe five to lie or exaggerate. >> we felt with that episode the government would not be able to establish obstruction. if you go back and look at the episode where mcgahn -- the president gave mcgahn an instruction, mcgahn's version of that is quite clear in each time that he gave it and that was that the instruction said go to
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rosenstein. raise the interest of conflict of interest, and mueller has to go because of his conflict of interest. so there is no dwhae that, that whatever instruction was given to mcgahn had to do with mueller's conflict of interest. the president later said that what he meant is that the conflict of interest should be raised with rosenstein, but the decision should be left with ro rosenstein. on the other end of the spectrum, mcgahn felt it was more directed and the president was saying push rosenstein to invoke a conflict of interest to push mueller out. where ever it fell on that spectrum of interest, the "new york times" story was very difficult. the "new york times" story said the president directed the
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firing of mueller, told mcgahn mueller. there is something very different between firing a special counsel outright, which suggests ending the investigation, and having a special counsel removed for conflict that suggests you're going to have another special council. so the fact is that even under mcgahn's -- and the report says and recognizes there is evidence that the president truly felt that the time's article was inaccurate and he wanted mcgahn to correct it. we believe it would be impossible for the government to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the president understood that he was instructing mcgahn to say something false because it wasn't necessarily false. moreover, mcgahn had, weeks before, given testimony to the special counsel and the
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president was aware of that. and as the report indicates, it could be the case that he was primarily concerned about press reports and making it clear that he never outright directed the firing of mueller. so in terms of -- so in terms of the request to ask mcgahn to memorialize that fact, we do not think, in this case, that the government could show corrupt intent beyond a reasonable doubt. >> just to finish this you have a situation where a president essentially tries to change the lawyer's account in order to prevent further criticism of himself. >> well that's not a crime. >> so you can, in this situation
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instruct someone to lie? >> no, it has to be. twoel be obstruction of justito obstruction of justice it has to be a lie for a particular proceeding. mcgahn had already given his ed and i think it would be plausible that the purpose of mcgahn memorializing what he was asking is o to make a record th he was never fired. there is a distinction between go fire mueller and have him removed based on conflict. >> what would that conflict be? >> the difference between them is if you remove someone for a conflict of interest, then there would be another presumably person appointed. >> yeah, but wouldn't you have to have an identifiable conflict
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that made sense or else doesn't it just become a fabrication? >> now we're shifting from the issue of writing the memo or somehow putting out later on and the issue of the direction to mcgahn. there was a number of different levels to it. first as a matter of law, i think the department's position would be that the president can direct determination for the replacement of a special coun l counsel. as a matter of law, the obstruction statute does not reach that conduct. putting that aside, the next question would be if it reached the conduct, could you hear establish corrupt intent beyond
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a reasonable doubt. when you take away there is no criminal conduct, no maligned act that the president was carrying out his constitutional duties, the question is what is the impact of taking away the underlying crime? and it is not, the report suggests that one impact is that we have to find another reason that the president would obstruction to obstruct the investigation, but if the president is being falsely accused, but the president suggests the accusations against him were false, and he knew they were false, and he felt this investigation was unfair, propelled by his political opponents, and was hampering his
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ability to govern, that is not a corrupt motive for replacing an independent council. that is another reason we would say that we would have difficulty proving this beyond a reasonable doubt. >> senator johnson and i wrote you about text messages between tweter ee ee ee eer -- peter sty may have used the communications as evidence gathering. i hope you will provide the requested briefing. that is my question. >> yes, senator. >> have you already tasked any
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staff to look into whether or not spying was properly predicated and can congress expect a formal report on your findings? >> yes, i have people in the department helping me review the activities over the summer of 2016. >> i suppose it depends on what conclusions you come to, but is there any reason that congress would not be briefed on your conclusions. >> it is a little early for me to commit completely, but i expect a report at the end of this. >> the democratic national campaign hired fusion gps to do opposition research against candidate trump. then they hired christopher steel to compile what we know as
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the steel dos d dossier. the steel dossier was essential to the now debunct collusion narrative. the mueller report spent millions investigating and found no collusion between trump campaign and russia, but the democrats paid for a document created by a foreign national with reported foreign government sources. not trump, but the detectives. the mueller report failed to analyze whether or not the dossier was filled with misinformation.
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my question, in order for a full accounting of russian interference attempts, shouldn't the special counsel have considered on whether or not the steel dossier was part of a russian disinformation and interference campaign? special counsel mueller has dwroet go through the full scope of the investigation to determine whether or not he addressed or looked into those issues. up with of the things that i'm doing in my review is to try to establish all of the information out there about it. also to see what the special counctsel looked into. so i can't say what he actually
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looked into. >> but you think, in other words if you looked at all of that information right now you're telling me you could not tell me yes or no to that question sd. p >> if i looked at it. >> and you're going to try to find some of this information. >> similarly shouldn't the special council hatsel have looo the origins between the trump campaign and russia. >> the origins of that narrative? >> yes. >> i don't know if he viewed his charter that broadly. that is something that i'm reviewing and i i look at whatever the special counsel found on that. the special counsel laid out 200
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or so pages relating to a potential obstruction analysis and then dumped that on your desk. you said the u.s. and special council whether or not he would have made a charging decision or recommended charges on obstruction, but for the office of legal counsel's decision, and that the special counsel made clear that was not the case. so mr. barr, is that an accurate description? >> yes, he reiterated several times in the group meeting that he was not saying that butt for the olc opinion he would have found obstruction. >> if they found facts sufficient for obstruction of justice, would he have stated that finding?
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>> i think so, yes. >> was it special counsel mueller's responsibility to make a finding? >> i think the deputy attorney general and i thought it was, but not just charging, but to determine whether or not the conduct was criminal. the president could not be charged as long as he informs office. >> do you agree that the reasons for him not making a decision in volume two of the report and why or why not? >>. >> i'm not really sure of his reasoning. i could not recapitulate his analysis, which is one of the reasons in my march 24th letter i stated that he did not reach a conclusion and i did not put words in his mouth.
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i think if he felt that he should not go down the path of making a traditional prosecutive decision. >> there has been a number of leaks, during the department's investigation of hillary clinton for mishandle iing sensitive information, there was a culture of unauthorize d speaking. further leaking to the papers while congress's questions to the department go unanswered is unacceptable. why, what are you doing to investigate unauthorized media
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contac contacts. >> we have multiple criminal leak investigations under way. >> thank you. >> attorney general, i'm somewhat troubled by your testimony here and in the other body. you appeared before the house appropriations on april 9th. you were asked about a media report that the special counsel's team is frustrated that your march 24th letter did not adequately portray the report's findings. you testified in response "no, i don't." you then said you suspected they would have preferred more information be released with the letter. now we know that contrary to what you said on april 9th, that
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on march the 27th, robert mueller wrote to you and expressed very specific concerns that your march 24th letter failed to capture, to quote mr. mueller, the context, substance, and nature of his report. and what restruck me is he wrote that your letter threatened to under mine the special council. and assuring full public confidence in the outcome of the investigation. why did you testify on april 9th that you did not know the concerns expressed by mueller's team but if you heard those directly before mr. mueller two weeks before? as i said, i talked directly to bob mueller about his letter to
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mane specifically asked him what impact will are your concerns? are you concerned that the march 24th letter was misleading or inaccurate? and he said that he was not. >> that wasn't my question. >> i'm getting to the question which is the question from chris, which was reports have emerged recently, press reports, that members of the special council's team are frustrated at some level with information included in your letter and they don't portray the courset's findings. >> you seem to have learned the
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ph filibuster rules better than senators. why did you say you're not aware of concerns when weeks before your temperature mr. mueller expressed concerns to you. that is fairly simple. the question was relating to unidentified members expressing frustration over the accuracy relating to findings. i don't know what that refers to at all. i talked directly to bob mueller, not members of his team. and even though i did not know what was being referred to, and mueller never told me that the expression of the findings was inaccurate, but i did then volunteer that i thought they were talking about the desire to have more information put out, but it was not my purpose to put out more information. >> i feel your answer is purposely misleading.
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and i think others do too. let me ask you another question. you said that the president is fully cooperating with the investigation, but his attorney told a defendant that he would be taken care of if he didn't cooperate, is there is a conflict in that? >> can you repeat that? >> they were told they would be taken care of if they did not scoop rate. is there a conflict there? yes or no. >> no. you think is fully cooperating to tell a former aide to rescues himself, shut down the investigation, and declare the president did nothing wrong? >> i don't think -- well
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obviously since i didn't find obstruction, i felt the evidence could not support -- >> i'm asking if that is fully cooperating. i'm not asking if that is obstruction, is that fully cooperating? >> he fully cooperated. >> so by instructing a former aide to rescues himself, shut down the investigation, and that is not a crime? >> why where is that in the report. >> volume two. the investigation was impaired to the president and the president had done nothing wrong. >> well, fistly arstly asking ss to unrecuse himself we did not feel was wrong. >> i don't know if that declares
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he did nothing wrong, but collusion -- is that fully cooperating? to say that? >> well, i don't see any conflict wean that and fully cooperating with the investigation. >> the president, of course, declared many times publicly in tweets and campaign rallies that he would testify, but he never did, did he? >> not as far as i know. >> i think you know whether or not he testified or not. as far as i know he didn't. >> and mueller found his answers to be inaccurate, is that correct? >> i think he wants additional but he never sought it. >> and the president never testified? >> the president never
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testified. does the fact that mr. mueller found the trump campaign receptive with offers of assistance from russia, and they never reported it to the fbi. >> what would they report to the fbi. >> that they were receptive to offers of help from russia. >> the report says that they were expecting to benefit from whatever -- >> page 173, volume one, the investigation had multiple links between the trump campaign officials and individuals tied to the russian government. those links included russian offers of assistance to the campaign, and the campaign was receptive to the offer and others were not.
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that doesn't bother you at all. >> i have to understand what that refers to. >> i have to give you a page from the report. i know my time is up. i'm making the chairman nervous. >> just very well done. senator cornan. >> the chairman pointed out that after the hillary clinton e-mail investigation there was a number of -- and mr. comey's press come presenc -- conference, there was a number of members of the senate that said that comey should resign. or be fired. i believe you said that you concluded as a matter of law that the president has the right to fire executive branch employees, is that correct? >> that's right. >> in this place the president was relying, at least in part,
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by a recommendation by rod rosenstein arising out of the e critique of mr. comey's press conference. releasing information about secretary clinton, and announcing that no reasonable prosecutor would bring charges against her, is that right? >> that's right. >> you started your career, i believe, in the negligence community and then moved on to the department of justice. and thank you for aagreeing to serve again as attorney general to help restore the department's reputation as an impartial arbiter of the law. i think that is very, very important that you and director ray continue your efforts in that regard. i'm grateful to you for that. but i believe that we need to
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ask the question why didn't the obama administration do more as early as 2014 in investigating russian efforts to prepare to under mine and sew dissension in the 2016 election? mr. mueller's report does accumulate that the russian government through the intelligence agencies and their internet research, or ira i think it is called, began as early as 2014. began their efforts to do so, and we know they met with some success. is it any surprise to you based on your experience that the russians would try to do everything they can to sow d dissension in american political life? >> no, i think the internet
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creates a lot more opportunities to have a, you know, to have that kind of co-vert effect. it is getting more and more dangerous. but the russians have been at this for a long anytime various different ways, but the point that you made about bob mueller's efforts on ira, that is one of the things that struck me about the report. i think it is very impressive work they did in moving quickly to get into the ira, and also the gru folks, and i was thinking to myself, if that had been done in the beginning of 2016, we would have been a lot further along. >> for example, we heard a lot about the steel dossier, mr. steel of course a former british intelligence officer hired to do opposition research by the hillary clinton campaign on her
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political add her sversaries in president trump, or candidate trump, at that time. how do we know that the steel dossier is not, et cetera, evidence of russian disinformation campaign. knowing what we know now that the allegations flad in are unverified? can we state with confidence that the steel dossier was not part of the russian disinformation campaign? >> no, i can't state that with confidence and that is one of the areas that i'm reviewing. i'm concerned about it, and i don't think it is entirely speculative. >> we know that from published reports that the head of the cia, mr. brennan, went to president obama and brought his concerns about initial indications with russian involvement in the campaign as
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early as late july 2016, and instead of doing more during the obama administration to look into that to deter russian activities that threatened the validity of our campaign in 2016, it appears to me that the obama administration, the justice department, and the fbi decided to place their bets on hillary clinton and focus their efforts on investigating the donald trump campaign. as you have pointed out thanks to the special counsel, we now have confidence that no americans colluded with the russians in their efforts to undermine the person people. we now need to know and i'm glad to hear what you're telling us about your inquiries, research, and investigation. we need to know what steps obama, the fbi, the department
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of justice, what steps they took to under mine the political process and put a thumb on the scale in favor of one political candidate over the other, and that would be before and after the 2016 election. what is a defensive briefing that in a counter intelligence investigation? >> you could have definite kinds of briefings. if you learn that somebody is being targeted by a hostile intelligence service, than one form of defensive briefing is to go and alert that person to the risks. >> i think attorney general lynch said it is routine in counter intelligence investigations, would you agree with her? >> yes. >> do you know whether or not a defensive briefing was ever given to the trump campaign by the fbi based on their
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counter-intelligence investigation. did they tell the president before january 2017 what the russians were trying to do and advise him to tell people affiliated with his campaign to be on their guard and vigilant about russian efforts to undermine public confidence in the election. >> my understanding is that didn't happen. >> that failure to provide a defensive briefing to the trump campaign would be an extraordinary or notable failure, would you agree many. >> i think one of the things that i can't fathom why it did not happen, if you're concerned about interference in the election, and you substantial people involved in the campaign, that were former u.s. attorneys, you had three former u.s. attorneys there in the campaign, i don't understand why the bureau would not have done and given a defensive briefing. >> thank you.
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>> senator durbin? >> thank you, mr. chairman and general barr. i have been listening carefully to my republican colleagues, and it seems they're going to coordinate a lock her up defense. this is not about the mueller investigation, the russian involvement, the trump campaign and so forth, it is really about hillary clinton's e-mails. finally question get down to the bottom line. hillary clinton's e-mails, questions have to be asked about benghazi along the way, travelgate, white swwater, a lo of material they should be going through for this nap is unresponsive to the reality that the american people want to know. they paid $25 million for the report. i respect mr. mueller and believe he came up with a sound report. i don't agree with all of it, but i find general barr that some of the things you engaged in really leave me wondering what you believe your role is when it comes to something like
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this. listen to what, since it is in the record, let me read it and listen to what you received in a letter on march 27th from bob mueller, the letter did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of the officer's work and chuonclusion. there is now public confusion about critical aspects about the results of our investigation. this threatens to undermine the essential purpose for which the department was appointed the special councicounsel. i cannot imagine that you got that letter and could not answer a congressman directly about whether or not there was concerns on the representations and findings, you said no, i don't know, what am i missing? >> as i explained to senator lei
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h -- hey hlehee. >> attorneys don't put anything in writing unless he really means it. you could not recall that when congressman chris asked you that a few months later. >> the march 24th letter stated that bob mueller did not reach a conclusion on obstruction. and it had language about not exonerating the president. my view of events is that there was a lot of criticism of the special council for the ensuing few days, and on thursday, i got this letter.
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and when i talked to the special council about the letter, my understanding was that his concern was not the accuracy of the statement of the findings in my letter, but that he wanted more out there to provide additional context to explain his reasoning and why he didn't reach a decision on obstruction. >> i will just say this, mr. barr, if you got a letter from mr. mueller a few days after his letter it was clear he had some concerns. after a month's kronk trial,
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they say well the verdict doesn't really capture my full cay or work. this doesn't capture everything, i'm not trying to capture everything, you're using the word summarize. the office of legal counsel's decision, you had some strong feelings about that and they were reflected in your trump defense team. >> did i discussion that? >> you certainly discussed whether or not a president should cooperate with an investigation. you said at one point, in s summarizing the findings that the president fully cooperated. and you said the president never submitted himself to a vital
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interview, a sit down interview under oath, not once, and that the questions, they were answered some 30 times his memory failed him. so to say the white house fully cooperated is generous. whether or not he was restricted and what he could conclude because of the outstanding office of legal council opinion on the liability of a sitting president. you dismissed that. how do you explain on the first page of volume two, you said there was a lot to do with it. he could not reach a conclusion on obstruction of justice. >> it was a reason, one of the backdrop factors that he cited as influencing his prudential judgement that he should not
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reach a decision which is different than citing the olc saying that but for the olc opinion, i would indict. >> i'm going to stand by what he has written. the last point they want to make as well as is about don mcgahn. if you read this section here on his experience, the president wanted him to date public they he was not asked to fire him. and if you are suggesting this was a dance with rod rosenstein, i think the president made it clear. he told lester holt that the reason to get rid of comey is the russian investigation. over and over again this president was very explicit.
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and expository in style, let me ask you this in conclusion, my time is up, do you have any objectio objections, can you think of an objection to why don mcgahn should not come testify? >> he is a close advisor to the president. >> we have not waived the executive privilege? >> are you saying, what about bob mueller, should he be allowed to publicly testify? >> i already said i don't see a problem with robert mueller. >> what about don mcgahn. >> i think he would be testifying on prif lengvileged matters. >> we might do that.
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senator lee? >> in classic decent, justice scalia remarked that nothing is so politically effective as the ability to charge that one's opponent a opponent and his associates are crooks. nothing so effectively gives an appearance of validity to those charges as a justice department investigation. that observation has, i think, been born out time and time again in the past two years. time and time again the president's political adversaries have exploited the mueller probe. it's mere existence to spread baseless innuendo in an effort to under mine the legitimacy of the 2016 election, and the effectiveness of this administration. for example on january 25th 2019, speaker nancy pelosi asked
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what does putin have on the president, politically, personally, or financially. mr. attorney general is there any evidence to suggest that vladimir putin "has something" on president trump? >> not that i'm aware of. >> in 2019, former fbi deputy director andrew mccabe said on national television, to the entire nation, that he think it's is possible that donald trump is a russian agent. mr. attorney dprl, is there any evidence that you're aware of suggesting even remotely that president trump is a russian agent? >> not that i'm aware of. >> eric swalwell said that he routinely acts on russia's behalf, do you anything to back that up?
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>> we have heard that over and over again. in the media, we heard about the president's alleged collusion with russia. but what we have heard is as baseless as any conspiracy theory that we have seen in politics. anything that i can think of, but the per vayers of this conspiracy theory were members of the opposition party. that is concerning. from the beginning there was indications that the investigation was not always productive with the impariality. especial dplifen the track record of excellence.
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the investigation into the trump campaign began on july 31st 2016 after a foreign government contacted the fbi about comments made by george papadopulous. is that accurate or was there other events that helped lead to this? >> that is the account that has been given in the past as to how it got going. >> you briefprooef previously s think it is possible that the trump investigation improperly spied on the trump investigation. is that what you in mind? or are there other secircumstans you in mind there? >> many people seem to assume that the only intelligence collection that occurred was a single confidential informant
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and a fisa warrant. i would like to know that is true, that seems fairly anemic if that was a counter intelligence effort. >> was carter page under surveillance while he was working with the trump administration? >> i don't know. >> was any other trump campaign official under survey flens that time period to your knowledge. >> these are the things that i need to look at. and i have to say that as i said before, you know the extent that there was any overreach, i believe, it was a few people in the upper echelons of the bureau and the department, but those people are no longer there, and i'm working closely with chris who i think has done a superb job at the bureau, and we're working together on trying to
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reconstruct exactly what went down. one thing that people should snow that the bureau itself has been handicapped looking back because of the oig investigation. >> as we know, the fisa warrant for carter page was based largely on the so called steel dossie dossier. in particular on a trip to moscow to driver a speech. first according to the warrant, he had a secret meeting, does the mueller report confirm that paige met with him. >> with mer. igor session. >> i want to say away from the
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fisa issue. >> the warrant also says that page met with egor in order to discuss what is referred to as compremat against hillary clinton. does the mueller refort confirm that? >> i don't think so. >> does it say that anyone spoke with him about hillary clinton? >> i don't think so. >> since the mueller report is the gold standard of what we're discussing here, i'm glad you're looking into it, i encourage you to look into why the fbi used this false information. the public has a right to know what happened here. the u.s. department of justice,
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the federal bureau of investigation have a long history of success. the outcome of an investigation can depend on the whims of who might be assigned to it. they have a right not to believe that a particular investigation might be struck, might not be influenced by a political consideration, politically or otherwise. >> i'm told we're going to have two votes at 11:45. we'll do senator white house and why don't we just come back an hour later, we'll break for an hour and do the votes and have lunch. >> thank you, chairman, you had a conversation with chairman graham, and you used the words
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hardenning our electoral infrastructure against foreign election interference. is anonymous election funding an avenue new possible foreign election influence and interference? >> yes. >> let's turn to the march 27th later that you received and read march 28th, correct? >> yes. >> when did you have the conversation with bob mueller about that later that you have referenced? >> i think on the 28 snth? >> the same day you trearead it? >> when did you read the "new york times" stories that made this existent? >> i think it would have been yesterday, but i'm not sure. >> when they asked you to ask for comment? >> they didn't contact me. >> contacted d.o.j. for comment?
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>> i can't remember how it came up but someone epmentioned it. >> so you knew the letter would become public and that was probably yesterday? >> i think so. >> when did you decide to make that letter available to us in congress? >> this morning. >> could you concede that you had an opportunity to make this letter public on april 4th when presentative presentative crist asked you a very related question. >> i don't know what you e memey related, i think it is a very different question. >> i can't even follow that down the road, that is masterful hair splitting. >> the letter references enclosed documents and enclosed materials, right? are those the same things as what you called the executive summaries that mueller provided
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you? >> with this letter? >> yes. >> it is all the same document? >> when you talk about the executive summaries that mueller provided you, they are the document that's were the enclosed documents with that letter with which we have not been provided? >> i think they were. >> you have been provided them. they're in the report. they're the summaries in the report. >> it's the language of the report in the report. there is nothing else that he provided you there? >> i think that's what he provided. >> if there is anything else will you provide it to us, it is od odd to be given a letter with no attachments that says it has attachments. >> can we get that? >> sure. >> you agree it was not grand jury 6e or presented a risk to intelligence sources or methods
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or would interference ongoing investigations or were affected by executive privilege. >> there was redactions in the executive summaries. >> this is another hair splitting event. >> i wasn't interested in sum marrizing the whole report, i want today state the bottom line conclusions. >> describe the report meaning volume one -- >> you had four pages for a 400 page report. >> i state in the letter that i'm stating it is principal conclusions. let me also say that bob mueller is the equivalent of a u.s. attorney. he was exercising the powers of
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the attorney general subsequent to the super jvision of the attorney general. his work concluded when he sent his report to the attorney general. at that point it was my baby, and i was making a decision as to whether or not to make it public. and i effectively overroad the regulations, used discretion, to mean as far forward as i could to make that public and it was my decision how and when to make it public, not bob mueller's. >> with respect to the olc opinion that informed bob mueller's decision, do you agree that is merely an executive opinion and this under our constitution the decision of what the law is is made by the judicial branch of the united states government. >> i'm sorry could you -- >> with respect to the olc's
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opinion, and the decision not to make a recommendation on obstruction, do you see that the law gets decided by the judicial branch of government? >> yes. >> is there any way for the olc decision to be tested to see if it is correct or not. >> none that comes to mind. >> it could be young, could it not? >> hypothetically it could be wrong. there are representative legal minds that disagree with that. >> excuse me? >> there are expected legal commentators and lawyers that disagree with that. >> it is hard to find lawyers that will agree with anything. >> because of the olc opinion we have to give the president an extra benefit of the doubt because he is denied his day in court where he could exonerate himself. that seems like fallacy to me.
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if you are the president of the united states, you can either waive or readily override the olc opinion and say i'm ready to go to trial. i want to exonerate myself, let's go. >> how is this relevant to my diagnoses? decisions? >> it is relevant -- >> i assumed there was no olc decision. >> we have a report in front of us that says it influencing the outcome, and that it influenced the outcome because it deprived the president of his ability to have his day in court and my point to you is that he could easily have his day in court by waiving or overriding this olc opinion that has no judicial basis. correct? >> well i don't think that there was anything to have a day in court on. i think that the government did not have a prosecutable case. >> but part of -- mueller didn't
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agree because he left that up to you. he said that he could neither confirm nor deny that there was a prosecutable case here. he left that to you and you said that you agree that the olc opinion bears on it and it would unfair to put the president on the process of being indicted without prosecution. >> you're not characterizing his thought process, it's in the report. >> can i have a minute, i just want to nail down, you used the word spying about authorized doj investigative opportunities. >> are you talking about mt. testimony in front of the house of appropriations? >> yes. >> in your entire career, have you ever referred to authorized
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department investigative activities, officially or publicly, as spying. i'm not asking for private conversations? >> i'm not going to change the use of the word spying. i don't think has any connotation at all. to me the question is always whether or not it is authorized and adequately predicated, spying, and i think spying is a good english word that in fact doesn't have synonyms because it is the broadest word to incorporate all forms of covert intelligence collections. i will not back off of the word spying, but i'm not suggesting -- i use it frequently as does the media. >> when did you decide to use it? did you use it off of the cuff, or did you go into the hearing intending to use it. >> the congressman, you want to
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language, i was actually thinking, like, what's the issue? i don't consider it a pejorative. frankly, we went back and looked at press usage. up until all the outrage a couple weeks ago, it's commonly used in the press to refer to authorized activities, such as referring to -- >> but it is not commonly used by the department. my time is up. >> commonly used by me. >> thank you very much. we'll come back at ten till 1:00. thank you.
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>> you mean during the course of the investigation? >> no, today. it is clear, according to press reports, that at one point, the robert mueller team was not happy. to me, has the team changed its mind on its
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conclusions? >> as to what? >> collusion, conspiracy, and conspiracy? >> not that i am aware of. >> the decision not to bring an indictment against the president for collusion conspiracy with russia has not changed? >> know it hasn't. >> and the conclusion not to bring an uptight and -- indictment has not? >> no. i take it from your testimony that the mueller team was unhappy when you received a letter from mr. mueller? >> i can't speak for the team. , he i spoke to bob mueller indicated he was concerned about the press conference -- coverage that had gone on the past you days. he felt it was to be remedied by putting out more information.
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>> these are my words, the first concern mr. mueller had, he felt like your letter was not nuanced enough? >> correct. >> the problem has been solved, has it not? >> it was solved by putting out the whole report. that's why i think this is sort bizarre.dingly i was putting out as much of the report as i could. i was aware it was going to take three weeks or so, maybe 4 to do that. the question is what is the placeholder? judgment, it was a simple statement of what the bottom line conclusions were. thes not going to be in process of feeding out more information to adjust to what the press was saying >> that is your call? >that would not be the call of a u.s. attorney or special counsel? >> not at all. >> the second reason, i
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mentioned the nuanced concern. the second reason mr. mueller was unhappy -- concerned, he was concerned about press coverage? >> he felt that what was inaccurate was the press coverage and what they were interpreting the letter to say. >> what were you supposed to do about it? >> he wanted to put full executive summaries incorporated in the report. those summaries, even when he them, they required more redaction because of the intelligence community. we did not have readily available summaries that had been fully vetted. i made it clear to him i was not in the business of putting out periodic summaries, because a
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summary would start a public debate. by definition, it is underinclusive. i fell what we should do is focus on getting the full report out, which we did. >> and that is your call as attorney general? >> it is. >> the news coverage issue, none of us can control what the news publishes or prints, except the media. extent that the argument was made, they did not have a full report? >> yes. can you briefly go over with me one more time -- i find it teamus that the mueller spent time investigating obstruction of justice, then reached no conclusion. tell me again why mr. mueller told you he could not make up his mind.
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>> i really could not recapitulate it. we first discussed it on march 5, the deputy was with me. we did not get a clear understanding of the reasoning. full linere what the of reasoning is. that's why i don't want to put words in his mouth. anhe did not choose to bring indictment, we know that much. regardless of the reason. -- repeatto ripley what we talked about the last time you were here. this is one person's opinion. think the fbi is the premier law enforcement agency. i do believe there are a handful of people, maybe some are still
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there who decided in 2016 to act on their political beliefs. there were 2 investigations. 1 was of donald trump. there was another one of hillary clinton. i would like to know that one started. it would seem to me that we all , if not to the american people, to the fbi, to find out why these investigations were started, who started them, and the evidence on which they were started. i hope you will do that and get back to us. there's another short way home here, as well. all you have to do is release the documents the fbi and justice department pertaining to the 2016 election. you can redact national security information, but just release them, instead of us going innuendo,is spam,
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leaks, rumors, let the american people see them. ,he final point i will make when you're investigating leaks, i hope you will include the mueller team, as well. thank you. >> you did not mention it. i say we must hear from director mueller. in response to some of the questions of my colleagues, you said you didn't know what he meant or why he said it.
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i believe we need to hear from him. i will first start with russia. special counsel mueller's report found the russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in a sweeping and systematic faction. later, director wray informed us 2016 was a dress rehearsal for the big show in 2020. the intelligence advisor of the president told us the russians are getting bolder. for the last two years, senator langford and i, a bipartisan bill with support from the ranking and head of the intelligence community, have been trying to get this at pass. it would require backup paper ballots. if anyone gets funding for an election, it would require audits. and it would require better cooperation. the white house, just as we were on the verge of getting a markup in the rules committee, getting it to the floor, where i think
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we would get the vast majority of senators, i think the white house called to discuss it. were you aware? >> no. >> as i would like to know from you, if you will work with senator langford and i to get this bill done? we will not have any clout to get back to paper ballots if something goes wrong in this election. >> i will work with you to enhance the security of our election. i will look at what you are proposing. i am not familiar with it. >> it is the bipartisan bill. from senatort warner, senator graham, senator harris is on the bill. it had significant support in the house, as well. the russian military targetingce agency the u.s. state and local agencies, along with private firms responsible for electronic polling and voter registration. they accessed voter information and installed malware on a
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voting technology company's network. i understand the fbi will brief u.s. ritter senator rick scott -- senator senator rick scott. have the fbiit to provide a briefing to all senators? >> just on the florida situations? >> the entire russia situation, including the florida situation. >> that would be helpful. bilre trying to get our l past. also according to the report, adsira purchased over 3500 on facebook to undermine our democracy. out,e chairman has pointed contrary to what we have heard, this is not just a few facebook ads, i'm least the chairman has been on the honest ads act, which i introduced last year
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with senator mccain. will you help us try to change our election laws so we can show where the money is coming from and who is paying for these ads so people have access? >> yes. >> thank you. we need that support. let's go to something i noted in the opening. majorlked about how the 2 concerns at your nomination hearing were about the report and making the report public. your was a third concern, views on obstruction. orsked you if a president any person convincing a witness to change testimony would be obstruction of justice. you said yes. the report found michael cohen's testimony to the house before him, that the president repeatedly implied his family members committed crimes.
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do you consider that evidence to be an attempt to convince a witness to change testimony? >> no. pass't think that could muster. those public statements he was making could pass the subordination. the highest man in office, the most powerful job in our country. i'm trying to think of how anyone would react if the president of the united states is getting out there that your family members have committed a crime. you don't consider that any attempt; to change testimony -- attempt to change testimony? >> you have 2 different things. the question of whether it's an obstructive act, and also whether or not it is a corrupt intent. i don't think general public statements like that -- we could show that they would have sufficiently probable effect to constitute -- >> let's go to some private statements.
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the report found the president's personal counsel told paul manafort he would be "taken care 2. this incident in volume that you don't consider obstruction of justice? >> no, not standing alone. on both the same reasons. >> i think that is my point. you look at the totality of the evidence, that's what i learned when i was in law school, and the pattern. the report found the president's personal counsel told michael cohen that if he stayed on message on the trump tower moscow project, the president had his back. >> i think the council acknowledged it is unclear whether he was reflecting the president's statement on that. >> the report found after manafort was convicted, the president himself called him a brave man for refusing to break. >> yes.
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and that is not obstruction, because the president's -- the evidence with the president's lawyers -- what the president's lawyers would say, is that the president's statements about flipping are clear and expressed, and uniformly the meantwhich is b he submitted pressure to lie and compose in order to get lenient treatment. that is not -- it is a discouraging flipping in that sense, not obstruction. >> look at the pattern here. the report found after cohen's residence and office were searched, the president told him to hang in there and stay strong. nationalafter a security advisor michael flynn resigned, the president made public positive comments about him. when he cooperated, he changed his tune during your
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confirmation national security advisor michael flynn resigned, the president made hearing, i asked if the president deliberately impairing the integrity or availability of evidence would be obstruction. you responded yes. and this is a different take on senator feinstein's question. would causing the white house counsel to create a false record after the president ordered him to -- when mcgann told him to deny reports, he tells mcgahn deny reports that the president ordered to have the council fired. if you don't see that as obstruction and directing him to change testimony, do you think it would create a false record to impair the integrity of evidence? >> the evidence would not be sufficient to establish any of of the three elements there. first, it is not sufficient to show a obstructive act, because
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it is unclear whether the president knew that to be false. the president's focus on the fact that i never told you to fire mcgahn, i never told you to fire him. thatm getting at something is about impairing the integrity of the evidence. i just see it as different. >> it is hard to establish the nexus to the proceeding, because he already testified to the special counsel. he had given his evidence. as the report itself says, there is evidence the president actually fought and believed the times article was wrong. that is evidence on the president's side of the ledger. he thought it was wrong and was asking for its correction. it's also possible that the president's intend was directed at the publicity of the press. the government has to prove
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things beyond a reasonable doubt. as the report shows, there is ample evidence on the other side of the ledger that would prevent the government from establishing that. thank you, mr. chairman.
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. he has been investigated by the u.s. government and other allies for money laundering, threatening the lives of his business rivals, charged with illegal wiretapping, taking part in extortion and racketeering. he's ordered the murder of businessmen. i think we can in an open setting at least agree he is a bad. this is a bottom feeding scum sucker. he has absolutely no alignment with the interests of the u.s. people and our public. the section of volume one that deals with not really paul manafort, but is really about europe oscar, i would --
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guerra's get, i would ask you to give us an understanding of what is and is not allowed. paul manafort is hired for things related to the ukraine. they had a bunch of failed business ventures. he is on the payroll of a .ussian oligarch he is on his payroll. is it permissible for someone to be paid by somebody who is a sickly an enemy of the united states? can they volunteer and donate time and talent to a campaign in the u.s.? one of the things i think is the massiveagic is majority of people will tune it out. those that pay attention will say it was people that were before trump -- pro trump, and a bunch were anti-trump and state
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anti-trump and we did not dig into any of what the report said. i think these pages say a lot of important things about intelligence operations against ,he u.s. people, our public government, and public trust. i think is not just about 2016, there are important questions about 2016 that chairman graham summarized at the beginning about how much money and time was available to the special counsel to do their work. there are a bunch of matters that matter. but if one of the important things we take away from this is -- needs to be that we will be under attack in 2020, and it will not just be russia, but it will over time also be china, who will be more sophisticated about this. can you help us understand what illegal about foreign intelligence services involved in u.s. elections, and what should the american public and campaign operatives know about what is appropriate and not appropriate to take in the form of help from foreign intelligence agencies?
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>> that is a very broad topic i'm a what is legal and illegal. can you refine a little bit? are you talking about what kind of propaganda? that kind of thing? you can't put money -- you can't put foreign money into a campaign. -china, i'mssia making up a country, decide to come into the u.s., make a database, and the chinese are involved in a database they can use for leverage against citizens. 20 million people are already in the database of the communist party of china. and build aome in database of all campaign operatives in the u.s. and some foreign entity can decide to hire them and say "why don't you volunteer for this campaign and that campaign?" can we have campaign chairman
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and chair women running around with talent and experience hate for by foreign entities choosing to volunteer on campaigns going forward? is that legal? forf their time is paid for the purpose of participating in a campaign, i would not think it is legal. >> given how sleazy so much of this city is, and so many people live on retainers of $30,000 a month, is it obvious what you are paid for versus what you do? some russian oligarch decides to put american campaign personnel on retainer payments and made need them to lobby for something in the future. they have views about oil pipelines and natural pipelines. if you are a person who likes to work with a specific campaign and certain parties, feel free to go and do whatever you want, whenever you want. is that a place we should head? is it allowed under u.s. law? >> it depends on the specific circumstances and the nature of
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the agreement, who the person is representing. are they representing the interests of the foreign government, are they a foreign agent? are they registered? it is a slippery area. we can sit here all day and without specifics. >> i only have seven minutes. you are the chief law enforcement officer of the u.s. government. i think it would be helpful for us to have a shared understanding as we head toward the 2020 election of what campaign operatives should well understand is beyond the pale. if the chinese government decides to start hacking into 2020 campaigns, i would hope there is clarity from the department of justice about whether or not presidential campaigns, the trunk reelection campaign, are allowed to say they are interested in this material going forward. i think we need clarity about a question like that. on they who sits intelligence committee, i think there are a bunch of counterintelligence investigations happening. campaigns don't really
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what the laws are. i think we may need more clarity. under the presidential transitions act, once you have a presidential nominee for president, one of the things we do is brief them in the event that they would become the president told act. they would need to know where we are in different national security issues. should we be adding to the presidential transition act? counter briefings for campaigns as they become nominee, in a much more detailed way than the response you had about the bureau's efforts one senator cornyn asked you if the sensitive briefings were given? should we be thinking about authorizing the ability of the bureau in a shared broader context, but with the bureau of homeland security probably being the interface entity, should nominees for the highest office of the land heading into 2020
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receive regular counter intelligence briefings on the fact that foreign intelligence services will surround people that will likely be people of influence and principal officers to the u.s. government should they went? >> absolutely. i think the danger from countries like china, russia, so forth, is far more insidious than it has been because of nontraditional collectors that they have operating in the u.s.. i think most people are unaware of how pervasive it is and what the risk level is. i think it should go far beyond even campaigns. more people involved in government have to be educated on this.
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, have to become much more sophisticated about what foreign intelligence agencies are plotting for the future. is wheneverrn there is an election, foreign governments and their operatives frequently descend on those who they think could have a shot at winning. it is common and the most typical scenario, that they do try to make contact and so forth. >> and in a digital era, you don't need a bar and a hooker. you can surround people much easier. we know we will have these kind of attacks in the future and we need to up our game. and the hooker, we will have hearings about all of this. senator kunz. >> thank you. i want to follow up on some of that line of questioning. the special counsel was
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appointed to cover russia's attack on our 2016 election and potential coordination with the trump campaign manager i'm glad the chairman started on saying we need to focus on that assault on our democracy and protect our elections going forward. i look forward to working with my colleagues, whether it's on sanctions bills or the covert charge bill. we do need leadership from you and from the white house and our president to make sure we are doing everything we can to protect our next election. 2 ofso can't ignore volume this report, which i think details a respectable conduct by the president and his campaign. that includes trying to fire the special counsel without pause. -- something i think is still worth doing for future special counsel. we were told there was nothing to worry about because the president was not going to fire the special counsel. i was particularly struck by some reports in the second
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volume that the president attempted to do exactly that. i frankly have concerns that your march 24 letter of scared that conduct, and as a result, worked to protect the resident, rather than give the full truth to the american people, as i now believe special counsel mueller was urging you to do, as reflected in the letter we received. i will ask you some questions about the report. the bottom line is i think we need to hear more about the special counsel's work from the special counsel. according to mueller's report, in june of 2017, president trump councilmanes -- vice mcgann and demanded to have the special counsel removed. this is from about page 85. "mcgann recalled -- called the president twice, and on both occasions, directed him to call rosenstein and said mueller had conflicts and could no longer worked. there were no conflicts. he testified the conflicts were
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silly, not real, and chris christie advised president trump about the same time that there were no substantive basis, no good cause to fire the special counsel. in one call, the president said to tell he has conflicts, he has to go. i assume he did not mean go to cleveland or seattle, he meant to be fired. i think the president's demands to fire mueller without cause are alarming and unacceptable. not one bit of what i just described was in your march 24 letter to this committee, was it? >> no. >> but it was in the summaries offered to you by special counsel mueller and his team, which you chose not to release? >> they were in complete form in the final report, which i was striving to make public. >> a critical three weeks passed between before you delivered the letter with the focus on the principal conclusion, and when
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we ultimately got the redacted report. what i take from -- >> why were they critical? >> i think the volume 2 summary would have revealed to the general public a whole range of inappropriate actions by the president and his team. i will go to a second episode. on february 5 of 2018, one week after the story broke publicly that the president ordered his white house counsel to fire the special counsel, investigating the president, the president demanded he make a false record, saying the president never demanded to fire the special counsel. the president was not looking for a press statement or correct the record, he wanted a fraudulent record for white house records, a letter that was not true. mcgann refused to do it. there is nothing about the president's request to create a false record in your letter, is there? ? >> that is your characterization of it. i think it will be difficult for
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the government to prove that beyond a reasonable doubt. there is a plausible alternative explanation. when i was trying test what i was trying to get out is the final report and one issuance of the complete report. i made it clear in the march 24 letter that robert mueller did not make a decision, but that he felt he could not exonerate the president. i wasn't hiding the ball on where he was, and he was presenting both sides of the issue. he was not making a call, he felt he could not exonerate the president. i briefly described the process we went through to make a judgment, internal and to the department of justice. from a public interest
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standpoint, i felt there should be one thing issued, the complete report. >> i know we differ in our conclusion about what that meant , but my concern is it gave president trump and his folks more than three weeks in an open field to say he was exonerated. ,f you had released the summary we would have been more motivated than ever, based on the first volume, to work misdeeds,ely about and inappropriate actions by the president and some of his court team as a result. at the end of the day, we have had a number of exchanges where he said he can tell you white mueller chose not to charge. i want to hear that from mueller . let me move on to a point the senator was just asking that i think is worth revisiting about foreign intelligence in the role of our elections. the reason we have these
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investigations was george papadopoulos was told the russians had dirt on hillary clinton. the russians had direct contact to donald trump, jr. and was going to give him the dirt. he loved it and invited the campaign chairman, the president's son-in-law to a meeting with the russians. >> who do you say offered? wasn a second instance, it russians making an offer to donald trump. i have 30 seconds. let me get to a question if i could. going forward, what if a foreign adversary, let's say north korea, offers a presidential candidate dirt on a competitor in 2020, do you agree that they should contact the fbi immediately? if a foreign intelligence service, a representative of foreign government, says "we have dirt on your opponent," what should they say? >> foreign intelligence service
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does. >> here is my core concern. the president ordered the white house who have special counsel mueller fired, he fabricated evidence to cover it up. whether or not you can make a criminal charge, it is unacceptable. anyone who said we did not have to worry about president firing the special counsel was wrong. the russians offered campaign dirt on hillary clinton and the campaign never reported that. instead, they tried to conceal the meeting and mislead the american people. i think we have to work on a bipartisan basis to protect our elections from a repeat. we need your leadership and leadership from the president. you concluded the president did not obstruct justice and announced he cleared the president 25 days before the public could read the mueller report for themselves. i think it is no wonder special counsel mueller thought your letter created public confusion about critical aspects of the result of the investigation, and that threatened to undermine the
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central purpose for which he was appointed. i think we need to hear from the special counsel, don mcgann, and we need to review how we are going to handle the fact that you are supervising 12 ongoing cases that came out of the robert mueller investigation and have been referred. this body has a central role in oversight that i think we need to exercise, given this. thank you. your candor in calling what happened in 2016 what it is, which is spying on campaign and the president. i would like to talk more about spying. counterintelligence investigations, like we know the one that the fbi launched against candidate and president trump, they are designed to thwart spying and sabotage, is that correct? >> that is correct. to your knowledge, has the fbi ever launched a
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counterintelligence investigation on a president? >> not to my knowledge. >> it was completely unprecedented? >> to my knowledge. would it be unusual for fbi agents to hide -- >> would it be unusual for fbi agents to hide the results of an investigation, such as an investigation from their superiors? >> would it be typical? >> would it be unusual? that is indeed what press reports suggest happened here. when fbi officials hide investigations from superiors, is there anyone to hold them accountable? >> there is no accountability. theave you looked into decision by the fbi into why they launched a counterintelligence investigation? >> i am looking into it and have looked into it. >> will you commit to telling us what you find if the result -- as the result of your own review? day, when id of the
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form conclusions, i intend to share it. >> i will take that as a yes. let me ask you about the 25th amendment. we know that former acting director, andy mccabe, he publicly confirmed he contemplated forcing the president from the office using the 25th amendment. to your knowledge, have fbi officials ever contemplated forcing any other president out? >> not to my knowledge. >> the 20th amendment contemplates the vice president taking over as president when the president is unable to act. would you take that text contemplates physical ailments like a coma, mental incapacitation, not just political differences of opinion? >> yes. >> have you ever doubted, since you have been in your current position, whether this president is physically able, in the constitutional sense, due to start -- to discharge his duties? >> no. >> would you discuss the fbi>>
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forcing the president out of office gives at best reason to question what the fbi is doing to fear there may be abuses of power in the organization? >> it gives reason to be concerned about those particular individuals involved. i don't attribute it to the organization. >> speaking of individuals involved. i have listened to this testimony all day today. maybe the most shocking thing i have heard is this. august 20 6, 2016, this is a text message from peter struck, a top counterintelligence investigator who we no launched this counterintelligence went toation, "just a southern virginia walmart. i could smell the trump support." smell is capitalized. " just went to a southern virginia walmart, i could smell the trump supporters." you want to know what's really going on? my the counterintelligence
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investigation really happened? why we're sitting here today? that's why. bureaucrat, unelected official in this government, who clearly has disdain, if not, hatred, i could smell the trump support, then try to overturn the results of the democratic election. that's what's going on. that's the story. that's why we're here. i cannot believe a top official of this government, with the kind of power these people have, would try to exercise their own prejudices. and that is what this is. it is opened, blatant prejudice. it is a crisis. if there is not accountability. if this can go on the united states america, goodness gracious, we do not have democracy anymore. i appreciate your leadership. i look forward to hearing the
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result of your investigation. and to this committee continuing its constitutional responsibility to find out what is going on here. >> chairman blumenthal? thank you, mr. chairman. thank you attorney general barr for being here today. you have been very edge right -- adroit and agile in answering questions but i think history you harshly in a bit unfairly because you seem to have been the designated fall guy for this report. and i think that conclusion is inescapable. in light of the four page summary, and then the press conference he did on the day it was released knowing that you had in hand a letter from the special counsel saying that he
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felt that you mischaracterized his report. you were asked by one of my colleagues, senator van hollen, know, whether you knew that bob mueller supported your conclusions. and you said, i don't know whether bob mueller supported my conclusion.yo >> excuse me, senator. haty. gen. barr: t conclusion. it was not related to my description of the findings in the march 24 letter. that conclusion refers to my conclusion on the obstruction. cases. >it's a different conclusion. >> the same words in the conclusions used by special counsel mueller. and on the obstruction issue, report.nd 182 of the
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i do not know whether you have it in front of you, the special --nsel specifically said had confidence after a thorough investigation the president clearly did not commit instruction of justice we would so state." he said again in page 192. yet in your summary and in the press conference that you did, you in effect cleared the so-calle on both collusion and obstruction of justice. atty. gen. barr: the differences i use the proper standard. that statement you read is a very strange statement -- >> for a prosecutor. on four of the specific obstruction episodes, mueller concluded that there was
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substantial evidence on four, on the three necessary elements of obstruction. on -- atty. gen. barr: you are prosecutor. finish myo question. atty. gen. barr: you have not let me finish my answer. >> we can do both. that press in conference and in the summary that robert mueller found substantial evidence, and it's in the report, and we have a e elements ofows th intent, interference with an ongoing investigation, and the obstruct of that. so, i think that your credibility is undermined within
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the department. in this committee. and with the american people . and i want to ask you whether on those remaining 12-14 investigations whether you have had any communication with anyone in the white house? atty. gen. barr: no. us an will yioou give ironclad commitment -- a laundry barr: -- list of investigation but i certainly have not talked the substance and been directed to do anything on any cases. >> let me give you an opportunity to clarify. have you had any conversations with anyone in the white house about those ongoing investigations that were spawned or spun off - atty. gen. barr: i do not recall having any substantive discussions. >> have you had any
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non-substitute. discussions it atty. gen. barr: is possible the name of the case was mentioned. >> have you provided any information about, any any information whatsoever? atty. gen. barr: i don't recall. recall whether you gave information to somebody in the white house about an ongoing criminal investigation in the southern district of new york or the eastern district of new york or the eastern district of virginia or the department of justice? atty. gen. barr: yeah don't recallt providing any substantive information about a case. >> is there anything that will refresh your recollection? atty. gen. barr: if i probably looked over list of cases and thought about it. but i don't recall. >> you know what those investigations are. we discussed them at your confirmation hearing, correct? atty. gen. barr: i think there are 12 or 18 cases, right? >> you don't know what those investigations are? atty. gen. barr: i do generally.
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>> let me ask you one last time. you can't recall whether you have discussed those cases with anyone in the white house, including the president of the united states? atty. gen. barr: my recollection is i have not discussed then, don't recall for sure. i -- >> let me move on. atty. gen. barr: i can say very surely i did not discuss the substance. >> will you recuse yourself from those investigations? atty. gen. barr: no. >> let me ask you about a couple of quotes from the president since a number of my colleagues have raised the russian investigation and these are from thereport, unturuths from president. in december 2016 when president trump was asked about the intelligence community's conclusion that russia interfered in our election he said he had "no idea if it is russia, china, or somebody.
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it could be somebody sitting in a bed someplace." atty. gen. barr: 400 pound person. >> i'm sorry, mr. chairman? >> 400 pound person. >> that is not what the president said. he referred to it as somebody. he also at helsinki denied russian attacks in 2016 on our election. another lie. president trump was elected, russian officials told the press the russian government had maintained contacts with trump's " immediate entourage" during the campaign when president trump was asked about it, he said " there was no communication between the campaign and any foreign entity during the campaign. page 21 of volume 2. the first quote i gave you was from page 21 of volume 2.
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the president denied playing any role in shaping his son's statement to the press about the now infamous june 9 meeting. the mueller report established the president dictated a misleading statement about that meeting through his communications director, page 101 and 102 of volume 2. after news organizations reported that the president have ther. mcgahn to special counsel removed, the president publicly disputed these accounts. the mueller report establishes that " substantial evidence supports the conclusion that the president in fact directed mcgahn to call rosenstein to have the special counsel removed." 2, page in your view did the president on those occasions and others recited in the report lied to the american people? atty. gen. barr: i'm not in the business of determining when lies are told to the american
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people. i'm in the business of determining whether a crime has been committed. >> so, he may have lied. you started by citing -- atty. gen. barr: by citing this theg in volume 2 about how report says that they could not be sure they could clearly say that he did not violate the law. you know that is not the standard reuse in the criminal justice system. it's presumed that someone is innocent, and the government has to prove that they clearly violated the law. he business of exoneration, not in the business of proving they didn't violate -- >> you exonerated him in your press conference and in your four page summary. atty. gen. barr: how did that start? i didn't hear the beginning of the question. >> you exonerated or cleared the present.
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atty. gen. barr: no, i didn't exonerated. i said we did not believe there was sufficient evidence to establish obstruction. which is, -- the job of the department. and the job is now over. that determines whether or not there is a crime. the report is in the hands of the american people. everyone can decide for themselves. there is an election in 18 months. a very democratic process. we have to stop using the criminal justice process as a political weapon. has expired, i apologized, mr. chairman but i would say that four page letter and the press coverage that you do left it clear impression and it has been repeated again and again that you cleared the president. >> thank you. senator? >> thank you, attorney general barr for being here today investing with all of us. the special counsel's thestigation and, all
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ripples that came from the 2016 presidential election have really permeated the country. there is great interest in this. as i'm touring the 99 counties of iowa, i am asked about this at townhalls and other interactions with my constituents just as much as any other issue at hand. i'm sure many of the other senators here have had the same experience. and i'd like to start today by -- about the actions of russia during the 2016 presidential election. i think that's where a lot of us would like to see the focus go. we need to focus on what happened in the 2016 election and then look ahead and make sure we are safeguarding our processes. so, i think it's natural to think of acts of aggression by a foreign state in terms of bullets, in terms of bombs. that is what we typically thought of as acts of
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aggression. ntil recent days, acts of aggression or warfare has been a symmetrical operation by a foreign adversary. bythe past it was practiced boots on the ground or various bombing campaigns. but that is not what we are facing today. do believe and i that we saw from russia was an act of aggression. other adversary a foreign states, not just russia, but i think a number of colleagues have mentioned china as well, north korea, iran, we could go on and on. not only do they practice direct, hostile military action just as russia did in ukraine with its illegal annexation of crimea, but as was detailed in the special counsel's report, they seek to influence the elections of our free states through cyber means. and it is an objective fact that
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russia attempted to influence our elections. s. know that, folk all of this admit to that. we see the evidence that russia tried to influence our elections. the hacks, the disinformation and social media cyber attacks by russia were done with the intent to sow discord among the american people. russia will show no hesitation. they have not in the past, they will not in the future, in using these types of acts of aggression in an attempt to undermine our elections process and our way of life. it doesn't matter if the attack is coming from the end of the barrel of a gun or a click of a mouse. we have to get to the bottom of it. the so, general barr, past two years we have been talking about this investigation in terms of what happened. and now we have the opportunity to decide how to do better. so, the special counsel's report is the end of the road.
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many have stated that, the end of the road when it comes to the question of the trump administration's intent but it is just beginning of the conversation on how we counter russian and other foreign adversaries in their attempts to undermine our republic. so, if we can talk about that 2016 presidential election. do you see vulnerabilities or weaknesses that existed at that time that left us open to foreign aggression, foreign influence in the elections? and then how do we move for to the department of justice in making sure we are shoring up some of those avenues -- for foreign adversaries? atty. gen. barr: yes. robust has a very program. the foreign influence tax force, which is focused on this problem -- the foreign influence task force. and is working to counteract and
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prepare for the kinds of interference that we, have seen. and it's a very dynamic program. i've been briefed on it by chris wray. i'm very impressed with what they are up to. i think that, the way i view this general problem is there have always been efforts by russia and other hostile countries to influence american elections and public opinion, but it was more easily cruderble and it was a operation in the past. and what we have now is the technology and democratization of information, the danger is far more insidious. and it enables not only them getting into effectively our whole communications system in the united states. just the way we communicate with each other and in to our
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business systems, our infrastructure. but it also allows him to do exactly what we have seen, which is, because of our robust first amendment freedoms, they can come in and pretend they are americans and affect the dialogue and the social dynamics in the united states in a way they have never been able to do before. it's a huge challenge to deal with it, but i think the intelligence community is responding to the challenge and the threat. this discussion with bob mueller on march 5 when he was briefing me on his work, and discussing lessons learned, what he has seen in dismantling the threats that he was able to detect and how we can start using that approach across the board. we've i think accomplished a lot through our federal agencies and through the department of justice then. are we able to work with
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different social media giants, other private organizations to help counter some of this? , do you see they are stepping this the challenge, taking on and making sure that they are pushing back as well against what they might determine as a foreign adversary? atty. gen. barr: yes. i think the private companies are stepping up their game and being more responsible in addressing it. >> i think that is important. i'm sorry, go-ahead. it's important that we really focus on why we are here today, and that is because we did see russian influence in our 2016 presidential election. we need to make sure that many of our other colleagues have noticed is that this does not happen to us again. and as are aware, publicly are aware of what has been happening not just in our own elections process in the united states. but to many of our allies around the globe, in making sure that
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we are adequately pushing back against that. and even over matching and making sure that we keep that type of influence out of our election cycle. so, i appreciate your time today. thank you very much. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. barr, now the american people know that you are no different from rudy giuliani or kellyanne conway or any other the people that sacrifice their once decent reputation for the grifter and liar in the oval office. a job offerned down from donald trump to represent him as his private attorney. at your confirmation hearing you told senator feinstein that "the job of attorney general is not the same as representing the present." -- the president. you know the difference for you have chosen to be the president's lawyer and side with him. to start with you should never have been involved in
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supervising the robert mueller investigation. you wrote a 19 page unsolicited admit noth you based on any fact, attacking the premise of half the investigation. you also should have insisted that rod rosenstein recuse himself. he was not just a witness to some of the president's obstructive behavior. we now know he was infrequent personal contact with the president, the subject of the investigation. report washe delivered by the special counsel, you delayed its release for more than two weeks. you let the president's personals lawyers look at it before you even deigned to let congress or the public see it. during the time he substituted your own political judgment and the special counsel's legal conclusionsi in a four page letter to congress and now we know that mr. mueller wrote your letter objecting to your so-called summary.
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when you called mueller to discuss his letter the report are that he thought that your summer was giving the public a misleading impression of his work. he asked you to release their thert summary to -- fix misinformation. when you did finally decide to release the report you call the press conference to onc e again try to clear donald trump before anyone had a chance to read the special counsel's report and come to their own conclusions. the report we knew that robert mueller's concerns were valid and your versions of event was false. used every advantage of the office to create the compression -- the impression that the president was cleared. he selectively quoted parts of sel's report predicted
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the power and authority of the office of attorney general and the department of justice behind a public relations effort to help donald trump protect himself. finally, you lied to congress. you told charlie crist that you did not know what objections mueller's tieam. might have you told chris on holly you did not know if bob mueller supported your conclusions but you knew, you lied. and now we know. a lot of respected nonpartisan legal experts and elected officials were surprised by our efforts to protect the president. but i wasn't surprise. you did exactly what i thought you would do. it is why i voted against you at the confirmation. i expected he would try to protect the president and indeed you did. somethinghis isn't you have not done before. in 1989, when you went to showed to congressan opinion that led
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to the arrest of manuel noriega. you recommended pardons for the subject of the iran contra scandal. and last year when you wrote a memo telling donald trump as president can't be guilty of obstruction of justice. idn't recuse yourself from the matter. from the beginning you were addressing an audience of one. that person being donald trump. that is why, before the bombshell news of yesterday evening, 11 of my senate colleagues and i called on the department of justice inspector avenue and office fresheners was ability investigate the way the you handle the mueller report. to determine whether your actions complied with the department policies and practices and whether it would have demonstrated sufficient impartiality to continue to oversee the 14 other criminal matters the special counsel referred to in other parts of the department of justice. but now we know more about your
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deep involvement in trying to cover up for donald trump. being attorney general of the united states is a sacred trust. you have betrayed that trust. america deserves better. you should resign. i have some questions for you. is the white house exerting any influence are your decision whether to allow special counsel mueller to testify in congress and when? atty. gen. barr: no. clear, you have been today that you do not think that episodes of0 possible obstruction the special counsel outlined is a crime. i disagree. if you seem to think that, it is not a crime, there is no problem. nothing to see here, nothing to worry about. adamith apologies to schiff, do you think all of those things that president trumpdid are ok? are they with the president of the united states should be doing? for example, do you think it is
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ok for a president to fire an fbi direct her to stop them from investigating links between his campaign in russia? it may not be a crime but do you think it is ok? atty. gen. barr: well, i think the report is clear -- >> i'm not talking about the report. i'm asking you. this is not a crime but do you think it is ok for the president to do what he did, to fire the special counsel to keep them fro m investigating? atty. gen. barr: i don't think the evidence supports -- >> i guess you think it is ok. do you think it is ok for the president to ask the white house counsel to lie? atty. gen. barr: i'm willing to talk about what is criminal. we've already knows that you think it is not a crime. i am asking if you think it is ok. do you think it is ok for the president to ask his white house counsel to lie? atty. gen. barr: which? >> if you're just going to go back -- you're telling me it is ok. you, do you think it
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is ok for president to offer pardons to people who do not testify against him to threaten the family of someone who does? is that ok? pres. trump: atty. gen. barr: atty. gen. barr: when did he offer a pardoned or someone? >> i think you know what i'm talking about. mr. attorney general, give us some credit for knowing what the hell is going on. atty. gen. barr: not really. >> this line of questioning. you slander this meant. >> how did we get to the point -- >> mr. chairman, i am done. thank you very much. >> you slander this man from top to bottom. . if you want more of this you are not going to get it. if you want to asking questions, you can. >> you certainly have your opinion and i have mine. >> thank you, general barr, for
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being here today. we appreciate your time. i want to talk with you just a little bit about some of your bottom line conclusions because i think theirs -- there's one we need to kind of circle back to a little bit. as i've listen to a lot of the conversation here today, one of the things we have not discussed is what seems to be the culture at doj and the fbi. i know there are a lot of good people that work there. we're grateful for their service. but every organization has a culture. and, whether it is a corporate or schools a church or whatever, and what seems to have happened at the fbi is seedy, cynical, political culture within a
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group that developed. and these individuals collectively seem to think that they could work within the power of their jobs and their roles with the federal government. there was an elitism and arrogance there. and i speaks to a very unhealthyt work culture within that agency. and i will tell you this when i talked to tennesseans, they talk a lot about what they want to see with the department of justice and the fbi post all of this, and a restoration of trust and integrity, and accountability. and really in tennessee they will talk to me about four things. they talk a lot about health care, jobs and the economy, they are going to talk about getting federal judges and about
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reining in government and holding accountable. there has been a lot of hysteria. this is something that grew within the ranks of the fbi. what are you doing and what is your plan for rebuilding that trust and integrity so that the american people can say, when doj does hishe job, we know that is the job done right? atty. gen. barr: i do not think there is a bad culture in the fbi. i don't think the problems that manifested themselves during the 2016 election are endemic to the institution. i think the fbi is doing its job. just this recent case in california where the interdicted this would be bomber. they do great work around the country every day. i agree with senator kennedy who said, it's the premier law enforcement institution in the world. i believe that and i say to the
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extent there was overreach, i do not want to jobs people's motives and come to a conclusion on that, but to the extent that there was overreach, what we have to be concerned about is, a few people at the top -- uh, getting it into their heads that they know better than the american people. >> and that is the problem. and that is what we hope that you are, um, you are addressing. let's go back to this because to repeat, to the report. to produce it i think that mr. mueller -- would be called a dream team. a deputy solicitor general, a fluent russian lawyer, supreme court justices and former head of the enron task force, chief of the public corruption union attorney'san u.s. office, federal prosecutors who have taken down mob bosses and
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isis terrorists. do you consider these lawyers to be the best and the brightest in the field? atty. gen. barr: not necessarily. >> either warriors he would want on your side in the courtroom? atty. gen. barr: there are a lot of great lawyers and the department of justice. he assembled a very competent team. >> are they meticulous investigators that will hunt down every witness and every piece of evidence? atty. gen. barr: i think they are tenacious investigators. >> are they devoted to finding the truth? atty. gen. barr: uh, yes. >> are they masters at taking down hardened criminals, foreign and domestic? atty. gen. barr: yes. >> if there were evident to warrant a recommendation for collusion charges against the president you believe that the team would have found it? atty. gen. barr: yes. >> and if there was evidence to warrant a recommendation for instruction of justice charges against the president do you think that mueller team would have found it? atty. gen. barr: uh, i think
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they had an exhaust -- they canvassed the evidence exhaustively. they did not reach a decision on it. but the question has just been asking raises a point i one of the say when senator who wrote a talking, how did we get to the point here where the heidence is now that t president was falsely accused of colluding with the russians and accused of being treasonous and accused of being a russian agent. and the evidence now is that that was without a basis. his administration have been dominated by the allegations that have been proven false. to listen to some of the rhetoric you would think that the mueller report had found the opposite. mr. attorneynow, general, that is what tennesseans say? they say how did we get here?
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his is this -- there t accepted missive saying that that is ok? because it is not. people want to see government held accountable. they want agencies to act with accountability to the american people. they don't want to ever see this happen again. it doesn't matter if a candidate is a democrat or republican or an independent, they never want to see this happen again. wasause they know this pointed at using the power that they had to try to tilt an election or achieve a different american people want equal justice. they want respect for the rule of law, and they want fairness from the system. i have one question dealing with social media. tennessee republican party had 10_gop account that was
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set up by the russians. i thinkknow, either, as we look at social media, either there were willing to these blind eye and allow accounts to go up because they knew there were being paid in rubles on some of these accounts. and, or there was just negligence. that with all is of the bad actor states, whether it is russia or iran or north korea or china, that you all have a game plan for dealing with these platforms in a way that you are willing to recommend for the 2020 election. i yield back. >> thank you. senator booker. sen. booker: thank you, mr. chairman. as i take a step back at this, we are at a sobering moment in american history. that there is a considerable
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amount going on if you actually take time and read this whole report that shows that we are at a crossroads. and i fear that we are descending- into a new normal that is dangerous for our democracy. i fear, i hope we have a chance to discuss this, that you have not only put your own credibility into question but you seem to be giving sanction to behavior through the lender to use in a press conference to health, the language you used in your summary that stimulated mueller to write such a strong rebuking letter. i fear you are adding normalcy to a point where we should be sounding alarms as opposed to saying that there is nothing to see here. this 448 page report that has a littaany of ls and deceit and conduct of the president of the united states instructing people to lie and be
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deceitful, evidence of people trying to cover-up behavior that on its face was morally wrong, whatever the legal standard is, saying it number one, by that this kind of obstructive conduct was acceptable, not only acceptable but your sentence saying that the american people should be grateful for it, that is the beginning of normalization i want to explore. the second thing i want to explore. i want to make my two statements at the top. one, that is problematic. the second problem i have is that you seem to be excusing a campaign literally had hundreds of contacts with the foreign adversary that i think there's a conclusion, a bipartisan conclusion, that there was a failure to even report those contacts. that we engage in behaviors that folks knew were wrong. they tried to actively hide. they seemed to capitalize, seek
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to capitalize on this foreign interference. in our country we know it is illegal for a campaign and wrong for a campaign to share polling data with an american super pac, here documented a level of coordination with the foreign adversary sharing po lling data. be, your, we seem to conduct seems to be trying to normalize that behavior. i think that is why we are in such a serious moment that could the cultures eroding of this democracy. let's get into something specifically. you said "we know that the russian operatives who perpetrated these schemes did not have the cooperation of president trump or the trump campaign. that is something that all americans can and should be grateful to have confirmed. " the things i just mentioned, a
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willingness to meet with russian operatives in order to capitalize that information, i do not think that is something they should be grateful. i find your choice of words alarming. questiont calls into your objectivity when you look at the actual context of the report. should the american people be grateful that a candidate for president saw to benefit from material and information that was stolen by a foreign power in an effort to influence an election? atty. gen. barr: i'm not sure by seekt -- what you mean to benefit. there is no indication that they engaged in any action with respect to the dissemination that was criminal. >> again, sir, you are using the word conspiracy which is a legal term in the press, to use president trump's words of instruction over and over again. you pulled into his words. i'm asking you specifically, i'm sorry.
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collusion was the word i was looking for. word no the collusion over and over again and you said the american people should be grateful that a president saw to benefit from material information but you know he did seek to benefit from that information. donald trump, jr. seemed to celebrate he might have access to information from a foreign adversary. is that correct? atty. gen. barr: apparently, according to the report, he was -- uh, appearing, -- apparently, uh, he was interested in seeing what this russian woman had in the way of quote. report it which everything in politics knows it is something that we should do. should american people be grateful in the face of an attack by ford ever see that the
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president made several attempts to thwart an investigation into the links between his campaign and russia? using that word grateful. is that something we should be grateful for? atty. gen. barr: i'm not sure what you are talking about. >> sir, i'm talking about the attempts this president made that mueller pointed to at least anattempts to swarthwart investigation into the links between his campaign in russia. should we be grateful? atty. gen. barr: are you talking about the obstruction part of the report? >> let me continue. should the american people be grateful that the trump campaign had 214 contacts between russian operatives and then lied about them and tried to hide them? the americanhing people should be grateful for for this president or any down the road? atty. gen. barr: qas i mentioned -- as i mentioned earlier, during the campaign, foreign governments make, and foreign citizens frequently make a lot of attempts to contact different
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campaigns. >> we have a document that shows attempts, connection between a presidential campaign and foreign adversary sharing information that would be illegal if you did with the super pac. atty. gen. barr: what information was shared? >> polling data was shared, i can cite you the page. your willingness to seem to brush over this and use words like the american people should be grateful with >> in this report, nobody should be grateful. concerted efforts for deception for misleading, inappropriate action after inappropriate action that is clear. at a timeop of that,
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that we all recognize that we had a foreign power trying to undermine our election, you the chief law enforcement officer not only undermines your own credibility as an independent actor when there is ongoing investigation still using the word, the president's own words, having a criticized by mueller himself, the challenge we now have is that we are going into an area we seem not to be willing to be in the least bit critical in your summarization> i believe that calls into your credibility and, again, my time is up. >> senator tillis. >> thank you, mr. chairman. in the last sentence on page one ityour four page memo, states that the special counsel issued more than 2800 subpoenas and 500 search warrant's, 230 orders for the mutation records, issued 50 orders authorized in the use of registers and may 13 request from foreign governments for evidence and interviewed 500
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people. that seems like a pretty extensive investigation. took about 22 months. atty. gen. barr: right. >> it was summarized the little over 400 page document. volume 2 was just under 200 page s. the new normal it seems to be after allre is, even of this investigation and you have not found any conduct worthy of an dimon you can just bounce for political reasons and indict somebody. that's a rhetorical statement, question not a statement. i want to go back to the other part i find interesting. the new york times issued a headlight that -- a headline that says mueller pushed in letter for barr to release the report summary. the narrative, and doesn't this undermine the attorney general because mueller wanted the executive summaries issued? now i want to go back to what
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you said in your opening statement. you said that, i believe using your words, the body politic, was unrestful. do the redacting. you knew that would take time. that would've been helpful if you had gotten that when the report was transmitted to you. and it took however long it took. you issued this summary, u sed the analogy of announcing the verdict and when he for the transcript. did you ever at any point say, you know what i really want to do is issue this letter and let the news media play with it for three or four weeks and then we will get the redacted version out? did that ever cross your mind? to get it done as soon as possible? atty. gen. barr: no, we were pushing to get the report out as soon as possible. >> at any point in time, it when the president had their time to assert executive privilege, over the course of the we see were doing the review of the report, did you ever get advice from the
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president or from anybody in the white house to assert executive privilege only deck any portion of the document? atty. gen. barr: no. >> none. the narrative between the letter and the reduction process was we're going to get a report that' 80% redacted. the numbersve me again on the version that is available to the leadership of congress? you said 1/10 of 1%. we are skipping over time one and -- volune onme one. did i hear you say that legislative leaders have access to all but 1/10 of 1% of the entire report? atty. gen. barr: yes. >> guys, you can spin this anyway you want to but the data is there. there was no underlying crime and there was insufficient evidence to indict the president on obstruction of justice. something that was interesting that we found no evidence that was sufficient to indict. then they went on to say nor can we exonerate.
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special-- when is a counsel in the business of exonerating a subject on an investigation? atty. gen. barr: they are not. >> why would someone put something like that and a report? atty. gen. barr: i don't know. >> it was followed you would not have included that in the summary before the full context of the report could be produced? atty. gen. barr: that is a fair statement. i did put in the senate is about not exoneration. >> yeah. i think that that the thing that frustrates me, number one, i should've started by saying this, the vast majority of people in the department of justice and the fbi are extraordinary people. the chairman is right. -- and everybody else leading up to the investigation, i hope they are being investigated. the scope of the oig, do you understand or do you know what the scope of that report will be?
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will it be purely on this investigation or extend to other acts that may have influenced this investigation? atty. gen. barr: i don't want to be too specific. michael horowitz a few weeks ago about it. and it's focused on the fisa, the basis for the fisa, and the handling of the fisa applications but by necessity or looks back a little bit earlier than that. the people i have helping me with my review will be working very closely with mr. horwitz. >> let me go back again because we about people talking. i'm clear in this report there was no underlying crime, is that correct? atty. gen. barr: yes. that's the conclusion of the report. >> and there was insufficient evidence ro asset that the present -- to assert the president obstructed justice. a lot of that evidence was in the public eye.
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we talked about tweets and a number of other things that was trying to be used for obstruction of justice. it seems odd to me that people on this committee that pound and pound over and over again that you are innocent until proven guilty with the extent of this report with the number of resources, $30 million, when the e outcome't lead to th that you wanted, the one the marketing department wanted to use this as a political tool for the next 20 months, it seems on me that we would go to the path in spite of all the work we will indict him anyway. if we cannot indict him, we will impugn your it integrity and call you a liar. i find that despicable. >> thank you, mr. chairman. president or anyone at the white house after suggested you open an investigation of anyone? atty. gen. barr: um, i wouldn't -- i wouldn't -- >> yes or no? atty. gen. barr: could you
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repeat that question? >> has the president or anyone at the white house after suggested that you open an investigation of anyone yes or no, please sir? atty. gen. barr: the president or anybody else? >> seems he would remember something like that and be able to tell us. atty. gen. barr: yeah, but i'm trying to grapple with the words suggest. there have been discussions of matters out there that, they have not asked me to open an investigation -- >> have they suggested. hinted? inferred? you don't know? ok. in your march 24 summer you wrote that "a reviewing the special counsel's final reportfter -- i'm asking question. "atour march 24 summary report,iewing the
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rod rosenstein and i have concluded that the evidence is not sufficient to establish that the present committed in instruction of justice offense.: " to believe and included witnesses and notes and emails and congressional testimony and interviews, which were summarized in the fbi forms. i director comey's memo. in reaching your conclusion, did you personally review all of the underlying evidence? atty. gen. barr: uh, no, we took -- we accepted. >> did mr. rosenstein? atty. gen. barr: we accepted the statements in the report as factual record. we did not go underneath it to see whether or not they were accurate. we accepted it as accurate. >> you accepted the report as the evidence? look atnot question or the underlying evidence that supports the conclusions in the report? atty. gen. barr: no.
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>> did mr. rosenstein review the evidence that underlies and supports the conclusions in the report? atty. gen. barr: not to my knowledge. we accepted the statements in the report as a characterization of the evidence as to. -- as true. >> did anyone in your executive office review the evidence supporting the report? atty. gen. barr: no. >> no? you represented the american public that the evidence was not " sufficient to support an obstruction of justice." atty. gen. barr: the evidence presented in the report. this is not a mysterious process. in the department of justice we have cross memos every day coming up. we don't go and look at the underlying evidence. the characterization of the evidence as to. >-- as true. the attorney general of
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the united states, you run the department of justice, in any u.s. attorney's office around the country, the head of the office when after being 00 a critical decision whether that person committed a crime would you accept that recommending a charging decision to you if they had not reviewed the evidence? atty. gen. barr: that is a question for bob mueller. he's the u.s. attorney. he is the one that presented the report. >> that you made the charging decision, sir. you made the decision not to charge the present. atty. gen. barr: in the cross memo. >> you said it was your baby. what did you mean by that? atty. gen. barr: to decide whether or not to disclose it to the public. >> and who had the power to make the decision about whether or not the evidence is sufficient, to make a determination of whether there had been an obstruction of justice? atty. gen. barr: prosecution memos go up to the supervisor. in this case, it would be the
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attorney general and the deputy attorney general w decide on the final decisionho. and that is based on the memo as presented by the u.s. attorney's office. >> i think you've made it clear you have not looked at -- i think you have made it clear you have not looked at the evidence and we can move on. will you agree to consult career doj ethics recessional's about whether your refusal -- recusal for the next 14 investigations is necessary? atty. gen. barr: i do not see any basis for it. i already consulted with them. >> you have consulted with them about the other 14 investigations? atty. gen. barr: about the mueller case. >> have you consulted with career doj ethics officials about the appropriateness of your being evolved and recusing yourself on porting other investigations? a clear conflict of interest. i think the american people has
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seen well you are biased in this situation and you have not been objective, and that will be the conflict. atty. gen. barr: i have not been the only decision-maker. let's take the deputy attorney general, rod rosenstein, approved by the senate 94-6 with specific discussion on the floor that he would be responsible for supervising the russian investigation. >> i'm glad you brought up that. that is a great topic. atty. gen. barr: we had a number of senior prosecutors in the department involved in this process, both career and noncareer. who all agreed -- >> i have another question. i'm glad you brought that subject up because i've a question about that. earlier today in response to senator graham you said you consulted with rosenstein constantly with respect to the special counsel's investigation and report. deputy attorney general rosenstein is a key witness in the firing of fbi director comey. i'm not finished. did you consult with doj at this
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officials before you enlisted rod rosenstein to participate in a charging decision for an investigation of the subject or what she is also a witness? atty. gen. barr: my understanding was he had been cleared to produce a great. >> you had consulted and they cleared it? atty. gen. barr: no, i think they cleared it when he took over the investigation. i understand. >> you do not know whether he has been cleared of a conflict of interest? atty. gen. barr: he would not be a participating if there was a conflict of interest. >> so, you are saying it did not need to be reviewed by the career ethics officials in your office? it's appropriate. atty. gen. barr: this seems to be a bit of a flip-flop because when the president -- >> you're not answering the question directly. did the ethics officials in your office, in the department of justice, review the appropriateness of rod rosenstein being a part of making a charging decision on an investigation which he is also a witness in?
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myy. gen. barr: as i said, understanding had been cleared and had been cleared before i arrived. >> in making a decision on the mueller report? atty. gen. barr: yes. >> and the findings of whether or not the case would be charged on obstruction of justice, he had been cleared on it? atty. gen. barr: he was the acting attorney general on the mueller investigation. >> had he been cleared? by your side -- informed. barr: i am before i arrived he had been cleared by the ethics officials. serving as acting attorney general on the mueller case. >> how about making a charging decision on instruction of justice, the underlying offenses that include him as a witness? atty. gen. barr: he-- he that is what the acting attorneys job is. >> to be a witness and to make a decision about being prosecuted? i have nothing else. my time has run out. >> we have got senator cruz.
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i would like to do short second rounds. i've got to go to another hearing at 2:40. to my colleagues on the other side and would like to do a short second round. and warrap it up. i'm sorry, senator. senator crapo. >> thank you. wttorney general barr, i kno you have gone through almost everything it could've been asked so far today but i will go over a few things you talked about but appreciate your willingness to get into it with me. first, i want to talk about the letter of march 27 that's been talked about a lot from mr. mueller. first, could you tell me who release that letter to the public? >> atty. gen. barr: um... who released it to whom? >> yes, how did he get released? was that a decision you made to release that letter? public?n. barr: i ss it
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[whispering][ i think the department provided at this morning. >> to "the washington post." how did the washington post get the letter? atty. gen. barr: i don't know. >> that is what i thought. let's talk about the letter for a moment. >> >>cated that atty. gen. barr: i assume the washington post got from the department of justice. >> i think i would need to find that out but we can get into that later. if you are not aware, let's move on to the other aspects of the issue. that you did not feel you needed to release as much as mr. mueller thought you knew to release of the outset can you gave a summary of the conclusion in he apparently wanted to see the summaries of each section he had put together released, correct? atty. gen. barr: yes. >> could you go over again the responded to him
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when he asked you to release portions of the report before you released it in its entirety? atty. gen. barr: yes. uh, this was on the conversation on thursday, the day i got his letter. and i said that i didn't want to put out, it was already several days after we had received the report, and i had put out the four page letter on sunday and i said i do not want to put out the report that would trigger all kinds of frenzy about what was said in the summaries and hwhen more information comes out it would recalibrate to that. i want to put it one time everything together. i told him that was the game plan. >> all right. i just think it is important to point that out again because there has been a lot of spin about the letter and what it was that was being requested and what your response to that was. it was important to get that out
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again and get clarified. the reason i asked who released the letter is because there have been a lot of releases of documents from the fbi that were basically leaks. i was curious as to whether that letter was a leak. i'm not asking you that. people couldrr: jump me if i am wrong on this but the fact that, the information about mueller's concerns were leaked. and i think some news organizations were starting to ask about that. in that context, the letter is provided. is that accurate? >> there were leaks about the concerns and conversations you had had. that gets back to the broader questions of leaks. you have had a number of senators asked you about the perceived bias of the fbi. i heard your responses earlier that you believed -- the
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culture is strong and solid. i agree with that. i do believe, however, that it has been pretty clearly shown in a number of different ways that there are some individuals at the fbi at high levels who in the past few years have not been holding up to the standards of the fbi that the american people expect of them. i'm sure you're familiar with the report of the, uh, doj's inspector general michael horowitz where he looked at bias in the fbi. and in fact, he found it. and he indicated in a hearing in this room before us that he did in fact find it. there was bias at the fbi. and that, but he said that he was not able to prove that the bias affected the employees' work product. in questions that i asked him, he said i found that there was clearly biased. . but, in order to prove whether
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that affected the work output of those who were biased, i had to ask him whether it impacted it. they, of course, said no i didn't have other evidence to prove otherwise. this gets back to a conversation about whether the fbi -- business was to prove a negative or whether it was to find some actionable conduct. my reason and going through this with you is that i want to get at what we can do, first of all, whether you agree that there is inroblem of bias in the fbi some parts or some individuals at the fbi, and whether you are undertaking activities to address that. atty. gen. barr: well, you know, i, you mean political bias? >> yes. whether there is political bias that is resulting in biased conduct by fbi agents. atty. gen. barr: i haven't seen that since i have been there. i think that chris wray the new
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director has changed out the people who were there before and froght in, not brought in outside but promotedm and developed new leadership team that i think is doing a great job. and i think he's focused on, on ensuring that the bureau isn't biased, and that any of the problems from before were addressed. >> do you believe it is inappropriate conduct for an fbi employee to leak politically sensitive information to the public for purposes of impacting political discussion? atty. gen. barr: yes, yes. ,nd, uh, i think some leaks are may be for political purposes. i think probably more leaks are because people handling a case don't like what their superiors or supervisors are doing and they leak it in order to
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control people up the chain. >> and i understand you have some investigations into that type of conduct under way. atty. gen. barr: yes. >> just another couple of quick questions. fbi did the doj and the know that the democratic party paid for christopher steele's dossier, which then served as the foundation for the carter page fisa application? atty. gen. barr: i don't know the answer to that. >> are you investigating? atty. gen. barr: yes. the department of justice, the fbi and other agencies engage in investigating activities before an international investigation was launched in july 2016? atty. gen. barr: i don' tknow the answer to that but that is one of the -- >> you are also investigating that? thank you very much. >> senator cruz. >> thank you, mr. chairman. general barr, thank you for your testimony. let me start by having -- saying
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thank you. you have had a successful legal career. you did not have to take this job or new step forward and answer the call yet again, knowing full well that you would be subject to the kind of slanderous treatment the kavanaugh treatment that we have seen of senators impugning your integrity. and i for 1 am grateful that you answer that call and are leading the department of justice both with integrity and fidelity to law. that is what the nation rightly expects of our attorney general, and i believe you are performing that -- very ably. i think this hearing today has been quite revealing to anyone watching, although perhaps not for the reason some of the democratic senators intended.
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one thing that is revealing and the discussion and questions that came up a word that occurred almost none at all is the word russian. years we heard democratic senators going on and on and on about russia collusion. going onjournalists and on and on about russia collusion. alleging among other things, some calling the president a traitor. we heard very little of that in this hearing today. instead, the principal attack the democratic senators have concerns this you march 27 letter from robert attack iand it is an want people to understand how revealing this is. if there is bit --if this is their whole argument, they ain't got nothing. let me see if i understand it correctly. you initially when you receive
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the mueller report released to congress and the public a four page summary of the conclusions. then, on march 27, mr. mueller asked you to release an additional 19 pages, the introduction and summary that he had drafted. in the letter what he says is "i you provide these materials do congress and authorize the public release at this time. yhe reason is that " to full capture the contacts, nature and substance of the offices conclusion." you did not release those 19 pages at that time. instead come a couple of weeks later, you released 448 pages, report, which includes those 19 pages. do i have that timeline correct? atty. gen. barr: that's right. sen. cruz: their entire argument is, general barr, you suppress
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the 19 pages. public that wely have, that we can read that they know every word of it. and their complaint it was delayed a few weeks. was because of your decision not to release the report piecemeal but rather to release those 19 pages along ages the entire 448 p produced by the special counsel. atty. gen. barr: yes. >> if that is their argument -- i have to say that is an exceptionally weak argument. atty. gen. barr: [laughter] >> if you are hiding something, you are doing a very lousy job of hiding it. you released it. isanyone wants to know what in those 19 pages, bob mueller says release the 19 pages. you did. you did it a couple of weeks later p or but we can read every
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word of the 19 pages along with the full report. in your judgment was that mueller reports zero? atty. gen. barr: yes. cruz: did they expend enormous time, energy and resources producing that report? atty. gen. barr: >> the mueller report concluded flat out on the question of russia collusion the evidence does not support criminal charges? [ r atty. gen. barr: that's right. reportuz: the mueller was compiled by 19 lawyers who were on the team, approximately agents, forensic accountant and professional staff, the special counsel issued more than 2800 subpoenawss, 500 search warrant, 240 orders for communication records. foreign government for evidence and interviewed approximately 500 witnesses.
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is that correct? atty. gen. barr: that is right. uz: we have investigated over and over and over again in the substance of the allegations leveled at the president have magically disappeared. instead, the complaint is the 19 pages we can all read that is entirely publicly the been released a few weeks earlier. oh, the calamity. let me shift to a different topic, a topic that has been addressed already quite a bit. i believe the department of justice, under the obama administration was profoundly politicized. and was weaponize to go after political opponents of the president. would you the case, agree that politicizing the department of justice and weaponizing it to go after your political opponents is an abuse of power? atty. gen. barr: i think it is an abuse of power regardless of who does it. sen. ccruz: of course.
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um, to the best of your knowledge, when did surveillance of the trump campaign begin? atty. gen. barr: the position today appears to be that it began in july. the answer tonow the question. sen. cruz: it is an unusual not, for the department of justice to be investigating a candidate for president, particularly a candidate from the opposing party of the party in power? atty. gen. barr: yes. >> do we know of the obama administration investigated any other candidates running for president? atty. gen. barr: i don't know. >> do we know if they wiretapped? atty. gen. barr: i guess they were investigating hillary clinton for the email. >> doing off there were wiretaps? atty. gen. barr: i don't know. >> do we know if there were efforts to send investigators in wearing a wire? atty. gen. barr: i don't know.
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rge, u.s. had remarkable transparency. you promise this committee and the american people that you would release the mueller report publicly. you have released the report. anyone can read it. it is right here. i appreciate that transparency. i would ask you to bring the same transparency to this line of questioning about whether and thehe extent to which previous administration politicized the department of justice, targeted the political rivals and use law enforcement and intelligence assets to surveilled them improperly. >> thank you. so, that's the end of t first roundh. we have votes at 3 p.m. can you go for a few more minutes here? you ok? ok, good. senator leahy, you are next. three minutes, second round. senator leahy: i noted the fbi -- to be derelict.
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indiscernible] the trump campaign knew that stole democratic emails. they were told that the russia had assisted in the campaign with a stolen emails. the fbi was right to look into that. that resulted in 37 indictments. let me ask you, in your march 24 letter, you claim that the lack of evidence on to underlying crime -- is directed to intent to commit obstruction of justice. there are numerous reasons why somebody might interfere with investigations, most critically -- [indiscernible] you might not know if this is a
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crime. but the special counsel did uncover evidence of underlying crimes here, including one that directly implicated the president. the't we learn due to special counsel investigation the donald trump was known as individual one in the southern district of new york, directing hush payments as part of a criminal scheme to violate t campaign-finance laws? that matter was discovered by the special counsel, referring to the southern district of new york. is that correct? atty. gen. barr: yes. >> thank you. report have the mueller references a dozen ongoing investigations stemming from the special counsel's investigation. will you commit that you will not interfere with those investigations? will you commit that you will not interfere with those, the dozen ongoing investigations?
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atty. gen. barr: i will supervise those investigations as attorney general. leahy: will you reach natural conclusions without interference in the white house? atty. gen. barr: yes. as i said, when i was up for yonfirmation, part of m responsibilities to make sure there is no political interference in cases. you testified a number of things and if i'm double checking, the appropriations committee, i asked you whether mr. mueller expressed any expectation or interest in leaving the obstruction tn decision to congress, you said, he did not say that to me. then he has numerous references in his report to congress citing a role in deciding whether the president committed obstruction
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of justice. you testified many times but -- but it was not correct. atty. gen. barr: that is not correct? i think it is correct. he has not said he conducted the investigation or turn it over to congress. that would be very inappropriate. that is not what the justice department does. sen. leahy: you included references, volume 2, page 8, congress -- conclusion that congress may apply obstruction -- [indiscernible] atty. gen. barr: i don't think bob mueller was suggesting the next step here was for him to turn this stuff over to congress to act upon. that is not why we conduct grand jury investigations. in myeahy: i am correct earlier stating, president trump never allowed anybody to interview him directly under oath, is that correct?
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atty. gen. barr: i think that is correct. sen. leahy: even know he said he would be delighted to testify. atty. gen. barr: can i? a point you raised about the absence of a, uh, underlying crime. the point i was trying to make absence of, in the an underlying crime does not necessarily mean that there would be other motives for obstruction. although, it gets a little harder to prove and more speculative as to what those motives might be. but the point i was trying to make earlier is that in the situation with the president who has constitutional authority to supervise proceedings, if in fa ct, a proceeding was not well founded, if it was a groundless proceeding, if it was based on false allegations, the president does not have to sit there constitutionally and allow it to run its course. the president could terminate
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that proceeding and it would not be a corrupt intent because he was being falsely accused. and he would be worried about the impact on his administration. that is important, because most of the obstruction claims that are being made here or episodes do involve the exercise of the president's constitutional authority. we now know that he was being falsely accused. i don't agree with that but that's ok. >> i have two questions if you don't mind. general barr. report describes the reasons why the fbi opened a counterintelligence investigation july 2016 into russian election interference. there have been many references as to why they would do such a thing. by that date, the democratic national committee -- the
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russians had -- had been hacked. some of the stolen emails had been released by wikileaks. the us trillion government had told our fbi that the trump guy saidolicy he'd been contacted by someone on the rushes information offering to assist the campaign in releasing information damaging to the hillary clinton. do you believe it was an appropriate predicate for open investigating a counterintelligence investigation to determine whether russia had targeted people in the trump campaign to offer hacked information that might impact of presidential election? atty. gen. barr: i would have to see exactly what the report was. exactly what he quoted papadopoulos as saying. surewhat you read, i'm not what the correlation was between dirt andans having jumping to the conclusion that suggested foreknowledge of the hacking. >> according to mr. mueller and
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his report, this involvement of george papadopoulos had something to do with their conclusion. i would like to ask you a separate issue. it's been reported in april 16 you received a waiver to participate in the investigation and litigation of the so-called i-dm matter. -- 1 db matter. the u.s. attorneys for the eastern district of new york is investigating whether a malaysian nationally illegally donated to the trump and naugle committee with money taken from 1-mdb. you saw a waiver to participate even though your former lawyer represents an entity involved in the representation, goldman sachs. how many waivers have you received to allow you to bridges are paid in investigations involved in trump business is the trump campaign or the trump inaugural committee? atty. gen. barr: none.
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>> you did seek a waiver in this case? atty. gen. barr: the impetus did not come for me. i was asked to seek a waiver in this case. >> do you see the problem if the issue is whether or not the money laundering operation in malaysia is sending money to the trump inaugural committee that is attorney general of the united states should -- not want to involve yourself in this? atty. gen. barr: well, no, i don't, because i was not involved with the inaugural. >> why would you seek a waiver? conflict. barr: the was not because of any relationship i had to the inaugural committee. >> no, it is to goldman sachs. atty. gen. barr: it is the law firm. >> and their client goldman sachs. i don't understand why he would touch that "hot stove. the that is why am asking the question. the criminalrr:
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division actually asked me to ver because of the importance of this investigation overall. i was requested by the criminal division. i didn't seek it. the impetus did not come from the. >-- from me. >> who would that be that made the recommendation to you? atty. gen. barr: i'm told this was the criminal division. he was the head of the criminal division but apparently they discussed it with a career ethic official and they made the recommendation. >> thank you. >> senator whitehouse. >> a couple of timing questions. you said that on march 5, mr. mueller came to you and said that he was going to not make a decision on obstruction, leave that to you. atty. gen. barr: he didn't say he was leaving it to me. >> but he was not going to make an obstruction.
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on march 24, you set up a letter describing your decision. somewhere between march 5 and march 24 you made that decision. one was that? atty. gen. barr: we started talking about it on march 5. and there had already been a lot of discussions prior to march 5 involving the deputy, the principal associate deputy and the office of legal counsel that had dealings with the special's counsel's office. they had knowledge of a number of the episodes and some of the thinking of the special counsel's office. so, right after march 5, we started discussing what the implications of this were and how we would -- >> you made the decision when? atty. gen. barr: probably on sunday the 24th. >> that is the day the letter came out. atty. gen. barr: yes. youou made the decision --
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did not make the decision until the letter came out? atty. gen. barr >> when did you actually decide there was no obstruction? atty. gen. barr: the 24th. >> ok. when did you get the first draft of the mueller report? atty. gen. barr: it wasn't a draft.we got the final . >> the first version, the only version. atty. gen. barr: the 22nd. >> you told senator harris that you made your decision on the obstruction charge, uou and rosenstein, based on the mueller report. do i correctly infer that you made that decision between the 22 and the 24? atty. gen. barr: well, we have had a lot of discussions on a before the 22 but the final decision was made on the 24. tohad more than 2.5 days consider this. we had already done a lot of thinking about these issues even
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before we got the report and even before march 5, they had been in regular contact. the department had been in regular contact with mueller's people and understood, you know -- >> the olc was looking into the mueller investigation while it was going on, and -- of the evidence they were gathering on obstruction. before you saw the report. atty. gen. barr: my understanding, i was not there but my understanding was that the deputy and, what we call the the principal associate deputy, where in regular contact with mueller's team and were getting briefings on evidence an d some of their thinking and some of the issues. >> did they know enough to know to know it might, need to be redacted before they saw the 3/22? atty. gen. barr: the problem we
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had as we could not identify the 6e material when the report came over. we needed the help of mueller's team. assure mecan you that nothing related to obstruction or the mueller report was discussed at the office of legal counsel, 27?nbag lunch, on june atty. gen. barr: nothing about what? >> nothing about the obstruction issue, and nothing about the mueller report itself was discussed when you had a brownbag lunch on june 27 with olc? atty. gen. barr: um, yeah, we didn't discuss anything having to do with the mueller report or mueller's eventual position on obstruction. >> t did you discuss your mueller memo? atty. gen. barr: i mentioned that i had a memo and was
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sending it to -- >> you have not yet said it was mentioned at this olc. atty. gen. barr: well, it was not at the brown bag lunch, no. >> my time is up. >> the vote has started. we are going to split the time between senator klobuchar and senator blumenthal. they will not hold the vote open too long. but let's start with senator klobuchar. . klobuchar: president trump said mueller for $35 million he checked my taxes any check my financialss. . the special counsel reviewed the trump organization's financial statements? atty. gen. barr: i don't know. >> can you find out. atty. gen. barr: yes, or you can ask bob mueller when he comes here. but iill do that, too,
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will ask you. we would also want to see them as underlying information. weing my earlier questions went through a number of actions by the president that the special counsel looked into. my point was that we should be looking into the totality of the evidence and the patterns the report develops. on page 13 of volume 2, the special counsel instructs that we do something similar. the report says, and this is a quote " circumstantial evidence that aluminate's intent may include a pattern of potentially obstructive acts." on this point the report cites three u.s. cases. old.frank hauser, usc arnlo do you agree that obstruction law allows for intent to be informed by a pattern of potentially instructive acts? atty. gen. barr: intent
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eventually has to be established by proof beyond a reasonable doubt. obviously, some inferences can be drawn from circumstantial evidence but canton- -that can contribute to proof beyond a reasonable doubt. that is one of the problems with this whole approach suggested in the special counsel's report, which is it is trying to determine the subjective intent of a facially lawful act and it permits a lot of selectivity on the part of the prosecutors and, and it's been shot down in a number of other context. so, one of the reasons that we are very skeptical of this in --ch is that, uh, uh, >> you mean director mueller, or the justice department?
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atty. gen. barr: the justice department is that in this kind of situation where you have a facially innocent act -- that's authorized by the constitution. >> i just. atty. gen. barr: it is hard to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that it is corrupt. >> i just want to get a few more questions. at your confirmation hearing, you testified that in the absence of a violation of a statute the president would be accountable politically for abusing the pardon power. how do you reconcile your suggestion a political accountability is available and the administration refusing to comply with subpoenas and exerting executive privilege to stand in the way of that accountability? atty. gen. barr: as to a pardon? >> no. au said in the absence of violation of a statute the president would be accountable politically" for abusing the pardon power.
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atty. gen. barr: your question is abusing any power, not just the pardon power? is that what your question is saying? >> it is hard to evaluate that. atty. gen. barr: the president has been held accountable for. -- b and the requirement in the constitution that he take care the lobby faithfully executed. i said are the president's actions detailed in the report consistent with the requirement in the constitution that he take care that the laws be faithfully executed? >> well, the evidence in the and thereconflicting is different evidence. they don't come to a determination as to how they are coming down on it. >> so you made the decision. --yes,
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>> we got two minutes left. senator blumenthal? >> naked, mr. chairman. -- thank you, mr. chairman. i wonder if you could tell us about the conversation between yourself and bob mueller shortly after your summary. he called you? >> no, i called him. >> what prompted you to call him? >> the letter. his letter. >> so you called him, and how long did the conversation last? >> i don't know, maybe 10, 15 minutes. there were multiple witnesses in the room. it was on a speakerphone. >> who was in the room? >> on him -- among others, the deputy attorney general was in the room and several other people who had been working on the project.
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>> members of your stuff in the deputy staff -- your staff and the deputy staff. in the language that was used, who said what to home? -- whom? >> i said, bob, what is with the letter? why don't you just pick up the phone and call me if there is an issue? they wereid that concerned about the way the media was playing this. and felt that it was important to get out the summer is, which they felt would let their work in proper context -- put their work in proper context and avoid some of the confusion that was emerging. felt that myf he letter was misleading or in a curate. rate. inaccu he said he felt that the press coverage was, and a more
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thoughtspicture of his in the context and so forth would deal with the. -- that. i suggested that i would rather get the whole report out than , but itting out stuff said i would think about it some more. the next day, i put out a letter that made it clear that no one should read the march 24th letter as a summary of the of the group or -- overall report. but there is nothing in robert mueller's letter to you about the press. his complaint to you was about your characterization of the report. correct? >> the letter speaks for itself.
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>> it does. in response to your question, why not just pick up the phone? this letter was a next her now he ask. extraordinary act. memorializing in writing. i know of no other instance of that happening. do you? >> i don't consider bob at this stage a career prosecutor. he has had a career -- he was the head of the fbi for 12 years. >> he is a law enforcement professional. i know of no other instance. but he was also a political appointee with me at the department of justice. andletter is a bit snitty it was probably written by one of his staff people. did you make a memorandum of your conversation?
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did anyone, either your anyone on your staff memorialize your conversation with robert mueller? >> yes. >> who did that? >> there were notes taken. >> and we have those notes? >> no. >> why not? >> why should you have them? >> i will tell you, we have to end this but i will write a letter to mr. mueller and ask him if there is anything you said about that conversation he disagrees with. if there is, he can come and tell us. the hearing is now over. any promise you if there is -- mr. mueller will have a make sure -- have a chance to make the conversation is accurate and i am going to give him a chance to correct anything you said that defines misleading or inaccurate, and that will be
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it. >> ok. >> five seconds. attorney general barr, i thank you for your service to our country and especially today, i thank you for your civility in your composure -- and your composure in what has been a fairly hostile environment. your professionalism has been remarkable. i am grateful. the committee did pretty good and this is what democracy is all about. thank you for being our attorney general. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit]
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announcer: house judiciary committee chair jerry nadler plans to go ahead with a hearing on the mueller report without testimony from the attorney general. he has announced that he will not attend the hearing due to a disagreement with the democratic committee over rules for questioning. we will have live coverage thursday starting at 9:00 a.m. eastern on c-span three. you can also watch online at or ricin -- or listen live on the c-span radio app. announcer: on the next washington journal, the action to attorney general william barr's testimony on the mueller report and his decision not to testify at a house judiciary
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committee hearing on russian interference in the 2016 election. we have your calls them comments life starting at 7:00 a.m. eastern here on scene is been -- here on c-span. theuncer: following conclusion of the senate judiciary committee hearing, members reacted to the attorney general's testimony. we hear from dick durbin, presidential candidate kamala harris and lindsay chair -- committee chair lindsey graham. >> speak on what you heard today, do you think bill barr should resign? >> i'm not calling for his resignation. i'm deeply concerned in his involvement in criminal referrals from the mueller investigation, 14 pending cases that were spawned by this investigation, i believe he should step aside. i don't think he has the objectivity we should expect of an attorney general who has the authority over this investigation. >> he has that consultant with the white house.


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