William Barr makes 1st appearance before Congress since contentious Mueller summary

It appears a conflict is imminent between Attorney General William Barr and Democrats in Congress

Barr bluntly defended his dealing with the report and said portions must remain hidden to comply with the law.

After years of complaints from Republicans and allies of the president, Attorney General William Barr revealed that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is being investigated over FISA surveillance on the Trump campaign in 2016. The data that I have seen have shown an increase going back to 2013.

"The Democrats will never be satisfied, no matter what they get, how much they get, or how many pages they get".

Barr has said his office is working on redacting Mueller's report so that sensitive and confidential information can be excised and a copy given to Congress and the public, perhaps sometime within the next two weeks.

Barr told the House Appropriations subcommittee, where he was appearing Tuesday to testify on the budget, that he was willing to work with Nadler to provide some additional information to the committee beyond the redacted report.

Democrats say they will not accept any redactions. "All we have is your four-page summary, which seems to cherry pick from the report to draw the most favorable conclusion possible for the president".

"I believe that our country must respond to any foreign interference with the strongest measures, and we must work with partners at the state level to ensure that our election infrastructure is completely protected", his statement says. "And we will have that discussion". "But as the attorney general, you take positions based on the law". Barr is up against Democratic Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler and Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff.

Mr. Barr later released a four-page letter to Congress laying out what he said were Mr. Mueller's main findings and wrote that the Mueller probe did not establish that members of Mr. Trump's election campaign conspired with Russian Federation.

"The letter of the 24th, Mr. Mueller's team did not play a role in drafting that document", Barr testified, "we offered him the opportunity to review it before we sent it out and he declined that".




That letter said that Mr Mueller did not find a criminal conspiracy between Russian Federation and Mr Trump's associates, and that Mr Barr did not believe the evidence in the report was sufficient to prove the president had obstructed justice.

"I can envision a situation where under appropriate safeguards, that information can be shared", Barr said. And information related to ongoing information will presumably eventually be revealed in some form or another, and most people would agree it's best for law enforcement to maintain its ability to do its job in those case.

"In many ways, your letter raises more questions than it answers", she added.

Cartwright then pressed Barr that the Justice Department is "devoting scarce resources" to the legal effort with dire consequences for consumers. "If you think it's such an outrageous position, you have nothing to worry about".

A subpoena fight could wind up in the courts for years, and a Congressional Research Service report noted that Congress could use other powers such as withholding appropriations to encourage disclosure of the Mueller report. "I think that's what drove the decision not to indict".

"This Congress voted unanimously to see that report", the subcommittee's chairman, Jose Serrano said, adding that he could not simply ignore the "elephant in the room".

The public - not Congress - will get the first look at the redacted report.

Barr is set to return to the House and Senate for hearings focused on the Mueller investigation.

While Mueller questions dominated Wednesday's hearing, lawmakers did press Barr on a number of other topics, including the administration's lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act, the immigration policy on family separations, hate crimes and cybersecurity issues with China.

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