Attorney General William Barr said Wednesday, “We have to stop using the criminal justice process as a political weapon.”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) said that “in effect” Barr “exonerated” or “cleared” President Donald Trump of obstruction of justice in relation to Trump’s firing of former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) director James Comey.
Barr said he did not exonerate the president of potential obstruction of justice charges, but, rather the special counsel found insufficient evidence to find that President Trump obstructed justice.
Attorney General Barr said:
No I did not exonerate, I said that we did not believe there was sufficient evidence to establish an obstruction, an offense which is the job of the Justice Department. The job of the Justice Department that is now over, that determines whether or not there has been a crime, the report is now in the hands of the American people, everyone can decide for themselves, there’s an election in 18 months, it’s a very democratic process. But, we’re out of it.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) noted during his opening statement that “You have to have a specific intent to obstruct justice.”
“I appreciate very much what Mr. Mueller did for the country. I have read most of the report. For me, it is over,” Graham concluded in his opening statement.
Barr added, “And we have to stop using the criminal justice process as a political weapon.”