Democratic leaders on Thursday called on Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III to testify to Congress, hours before his full report on Russian meddling in the 2016 election will be seen for the first time by lawmakers and the public.

Attorney General William Barr has scheduled a news conference for 9:30 a.m. before the release of Mueller’s report. He released a four-page summary of the report’s key conclusions in March.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a joint statement that Barr’s handling of the report has caused a “crisis of confidence.” Restoring the public’s trust in the integrity of the probe into possible connections between Russia and President Donald Trump’s campaign requires testimony by Mueller as soon as possible, they said.

“Attorney General Barr’s regrettably partisan handling of the Mueller report, including his slanted March 24th summary letter, his irresponsible testimony before Congress last week, and his indefensible plan to spin the report in a press conference later this morning — hours before he allows the public or Congress to see it — have resulted in a crisis of confidence in his independence and impartiality,” the statement reads.

“We believe the only way to begin restoring public trust in the handling of the Special Counsel’s investigation is for Special Counsel Mueller himself to provide public testimony in the House and Senate as soon as possible. The American people deserve to hear the truth.”

Trump continued his assault on the Mueller investigation Thursday morning, calling it “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!”

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said Wednesday that Barr’s office told him the report would be released at 11 a.m. or noon after his news conference.

Democratic committee leaders in the House called the news conference “inappropriate” and said it seemed designed to shape public perceptions of the investigation before the report is released. They called on Barr to cancel it.

The committee leaders — Nadler, Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff, Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, and Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot L. Engel — also raised concerns about news reports that the Department of Justice briefed the White House counsel on what to expect in the report as it prepared its rebuttal.

“These new actions by the Attorney General reinforce our concern that he is acting to protect President Trump,” they said.

Nadler called the reports “deeply troubling.”

Over the scope of the investigation by Mueller’s team, convictions or indictments were issued against Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and former personal lawyer Michael Cohen.

But Republicans took a victory lap when Barr released a summary of the investigation in March without new indictments being handed down. Democrats have in the intervening weeks cast doubt on the credibility and completeness of Barr’s summary. 

Trump has repeatedly since the release of Barr’s memo that it proves there was no collusion between his campaign and the Russians and that no one in his campaign or White House administration had tried to obstruct Mueller’s investigation.

Barr testified in front of House and Senate committees last week. 

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