House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) threw cold water on the idea of impeaching Attorney General Bill Barr on Thursday, saying that she is not going to “spend all of our time going after every lie the administration henchmen make to the Congress of the United States.”
The lying to Congress charge seems to hail back to an accusation Pelosi made in May 2019.
Then, she accused Barr of lying to the House Appropriations Committee when he said he had no knowledge of any concerns former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators had about Barr’s now-infamous four-page summary of the report. In reality, Mueller had written to Barr personally, conveying his worry that the omissive summary would undermine “public confidence” in his findings.
Now, Democrats have renewed calls for Barr’s impeachment, this time for his involvement in the Roger Stone sentencing debacle.
After Department of Justice prosecutors told the court that Stone should serve seven to nine years in prison for his crimes, President Donald Trump tweeted early Tuesday morning that the sentence was overzealous and a “miscarriage of justice.”
Immediately after, the DOJ announced that it would revise the sentencing recommendation. All four prosecutors withdrew from the case.
In yet another tweet, Trump credited Barr with leading the reversal of course:
Congratulations to Attorney General Bill Barr for taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought. Evidence now clearly shows that the Mueller Scam was improperly brought & tainted. Even Bob Mueller lied to Congress!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 12, 2020
The exchanges prompted outrage from Democrats, with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer calling on the DOJ inspector general to investigate, and for the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold a hearing.
“The president is claiming that rigging the rules is perfectly legitimate,” Schumer said Wednesday from the Senate floor. “He claims an absolute right to order the Justice Department to do whatever he wants. And the President has as his attorney general an enabler.”
During her press conference, Pelosi added that Barr’s actions had “deeply damaged the rule of law” and said that the Stone interference, plus Trump’s abrupt firing of impeachment witnesses, must be “investigated.”
“The American people must have confidence in our nation’s system of impartial justice,” she said, urging Senate Republicans to take action.
That seems unlikely, after Senate Judiciary chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) dismissed the idea of holding a hearing. However, Barr has agreed to appear before the House Judiciary Committee on March 31.
Democratic members of the committee sent Barr a letter warning him that his involvement in the Stone matter is a subject they will be eager to ask him about.
For her part, Pelosi applauded the committee’s upcoming investigatory efforts, adding only that she “wished” the hearing was “sooner.”