Attorney General William Barr concluded based on the special counsel Robert Mueller‘s report that President Donald Trump did not commit obstruction of justice, but he refused to answer how he came to that conclusion and admitted he doesn’t know if Mueller would agree on his stance.
Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) grilled the attorney general about how he came to his conclusion with no avail. Barr repeatedly responded he wouldn’t explain his position until the Mueller report is released to the public.
Van Hollen questioned why Barr would release his stance on obstruction of justice charges with no explanation.
“Nobody asked you to do that,” he reasoned at a Senate hearing Wednesday, adding:
“Mr. Attorney Genreal, the thing is you put this out there. I mean, the president went out and tweeted the next day that he was exonerated. That wasn’t based on anything in the Mueller report with respect to obstruction of justice, that was based on your assessment. That was on March 24. And now you won’t elaborate at all as to how you reached that conclusion because I’m not asking you what’s in the Mueller report, I’m asking about your conclusion.”
After again refusing to explain how he came to his conclusion, Van Hollen changed his approach and asked if Mueller backed Barr’s stance.
“I don’t know whether Bob Mueller supported my conclusion,” Barr answered.
Watch the video below:
Sen. Chris van Hollen: "Did Bob Mueller support your conclusion" on obstruction of justice?
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) April 10, 2019
In Barr’s four-page summary of the Mueller report released in March, the attorney general quotes the report directly on the question of obstruction of justice (emphasis added):
Instead, for each of the relevant actions investigated, the report sets out evidence on both sides of the question and leaves unresolved what the Special Counsel views as “difficult issues” of law and fact concerning whether the President’s actions and intent could be viewed as obstruction. The Special Counsel states that “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
Democrats are honing in on the indecision of obstruction of justice as a reason to get the full, unredacted report released to the public.
Instead, Barr plans on releasing a redacted version but said he believed evidence relating to obstruction of justice charges would be available.