Attorney General William Barr attended a press conference on Thursday ahead of the release of the redacted Mueller report, defending himself against suggestions that he was helping President Donald Trump with the way that he handled the report.
During the press conference, a reporter questioned Barr’s conduct, suggesting that he may have been giving special treatment to the president.
“I’m not sure what your basis is for saying I’m being generous to the president,” Barr responded.
The reporter then brought up the use of the word “unprecedented,” causing the attorney general to fire back.
“Is there another precedent for it?” Barr asked, and when he was told there was none, he continued, “OK so unprecedented is an accurate description.”
Watch the exchange below:
Barr: "I'm not sure what your basis is for saying I'm being generous to the President."
A reporter then brings up his use of the word "unprecedented."
"Is there another precedent for it," Barr asks.
"No," the reporter answers.
"OK so unprecedented is an accurate description." pic.twitter.com/5Mkso4BOCR
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) April 18, 2019
Towards the end of the conference, Barr was pressed again whether it’s an “impropriety” for him to “spin” the Mueller report “before people are able to read it.”
“No,” he answered bluntly and walked away.
Watch the moment below:
REPORTER: Is it an impropriety for you to come out and sort of spin the report before people are able to read it?
*walks away* pic.twitter.com/nXH4Tk3Fyd
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 18, 2019
Barr also responded to questions about Democratic lawmakers’ criticism that he is working for the president, saying that the decision was never meant to be left to Congress.
“Special Counsel Mueller did not indicate that his purpose was to leave the decision to Congress, I hope that was not his view since we don’t convene grand juries and conduct criminal investigations for that purpose.”
Watch the Barr press conference below:
As IJR previously reported, Democrats have been harsh critics of Barr since he released his summary of the report. Yet during the conference, Barr said that the report would support his summary.
“There was, in fact, no collusion. And as the Special Counsel’s report acknowledges, there is substantial evidence to show that the President was frustrated and angered by a sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents, and fueled by illegal leaks.”
He also brought up the fact that obstruction of justice had to have criminal intent, something that he believed was lacking from Trump’s actions.
“In assessing the President’s actions discussed in the report,” Barr said, “it is important to bear in mind the context.”