House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday accused Attorney General William Barr of committing a crime by lying to Congress about Robert Mueller’s report and Mueller’s issues with how Barr has characterized the special counsel’s findings.
“What is deadly serious about it is the attorney general of the United States of America is not telling the truth to the Congress of the United States. That’s a crime,” the California Democrat told reporters.
Pressed again about the accusation, Pelosi said, “He lied to Congress. If anybody else did that, it would be considered a crime. Nobody is above the law.” Asked whether Barr should go to jail, the speaker responded that “there’s a process involved here.”
In a statement in response, Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said Pelosi’s “baseless attack on the Attorney General is reckless, irresponsible and false.”
Pelosi’s comments appeared to reference answers Barr gave during House testimony last month. Lawmakers asked him about reported frustrations Mueller’s team had with a summary the attorney general wrote about the special counsel’s report.
Barr said he was not aware of concerns the Mueller team had about his summary. But news reports revealed this week that Mueller had written a letter to Barr expressing concerns about how the attorney general depicted the “substance” of the report — before the attorney general testified.
Here is the exchange from an April 9 hearing that apparently sparked Pelosi’s accusation.
Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla.: “Reports have emerged recently, general, that members of the special counsel’s team are frustrated at some level with the limited information included in your March 24 letter. … Do you know what they are referencing with that?”
Barr: “No, I don’t. I think I think, I suspect that they probably wanted more put out, but in my view I was not interested in putting out summaries.”
The comment from the highest-ranking Democrat in the country intensifies the party’s criticism of the top U.S. law enforcement official. While Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have accused Barr of protecting Trump and having a conflict of interest, neither lawmaker has previously gone as far as alleging a crime. Read more