Barr Denies Clearing Trump: ‘Criminal Justice Process’ Isn’t A ‘Political Weapon’

May 1, 2019 2:10 p.m.

Attorney General Bill Barr on Wednesday rejected the notion that he sought to “clear” or “exonerate” President Donald Trump with a press conference preceding the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, nor with his four-page letter summarizing special counsel Robert Mueller’s redacted final report, both of which many found to be misleading.

I didn’t exonerate,” Barr said in response to questioning by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). “I said that we did not believe that there was substantial evidence to establish an obstruction offense, which is the job of the Justice Department, and the job of the Justice Department is now over. That determines whether or not there is a crime.”

“The report is now in the hands of the American people,” Barr said. “Everyone can decide for themselves. There is an election in 18 months. That’s a very democratic process. But we’re out of it. And we have to stop using the criminal justice process as a political weapon.”

Barr has spent much of his time before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday responding to a March 27 letter to him from Mueller — a letter unearthed in reports Tuesday — in which Mueller said Barr’s March 24 letter summarizing the report’s findings “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office’s work and conclusions.”

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