Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrMueller twice asked Barr to release report’s key findings Read: Mueller’s letter to Barr William Barr should be scrutinized on his record rather than rhetoric MORE on Wednesday asserted that it’s “not a crime” for President TrumpDonald John TrumpKhalifa Haftar is no longer part of Libya’s solution Poll: 70 percent of Dems support impeachment hearings after Mueller report Seattle mayor: Federalizing local law enforcement in sanctuary cities isn’t making America safer MORE to ask an aide to lie for him, and argued there is a difference between asking someone to fire special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE versus having him removed based on a conflict of interest.
At a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, ranking member Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinLive coverage: Barr faces grilling on Mueller’s criticism Senate Dems put brakes on Trump impeachment talk California Democrats post tributes to former Rep. Ellen Tauscher MORE (D-Calif.) questioned Barr over whether Trump obstructed justice.
“You still have a situation where a president essentially tries to change the lawyer’s account in order to prevent further criticism of himself,” Feinstein said, referencing an episode detailed in Mueller’s report involving former White House counsel Don McGahn.
“Well that’s not a crime,” Barr responded.
“So you can, in this situation, instruct someone to lie?” Feinstein asked.
Barr argued that Trump would have to be “impairing the evidence in a particular proceeding” for it to amount to obstruction of justice and suggested McGahn had taken note of Trump’s requests to remove the special counsel to memorialize that the president was not explicitly asking for Mueller to be “fired.”
“There is a distinction between saying to someone ‘go fire him, go fire Mueller,’ and saying ‘have him removed based on conflict,’ ” Barr said. “They have different results.”
The latter request, he asserted, would lead to another special counsel being appointed.
.@SenFeinstein: “You still have a situation where a president essentially tries to change the lawyer’s account in order to prevent further criticism of himself.”
Attorney General William Barr: “Well, that’s not a crime.”
— CSPAN (@cspan) May 1, 2019
Democrats have grilled Barr on Wednesday over his conclusion that Mueller’s findings were not sufficient to charge Trump with obstruction of justice after the special counsel neither exonerated nor implicated the president on the matter.
The special counsel detailed 10 episodes in his full report that investigators reviewed for potential obstruction involving the president. Among the incidents detailed were Trump’s efforts to remove the special counsel, and his efforts to have McGahn deny the president had ordered him to have the special counsel removed.