Democrats prepare their response to Barr’s redacted report

William Barr heads to Congress with Mueller report under review

Atty. Gen. William Barr has said he'll release a redacted version of the Mueller report to Congress by mid-April

Attorney General William Barr is facing members of Congress on Tuesday for the first time since taking office - and amid intense speculation over his review of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation report.

Barr also disclosed that Mueller declined an offer by Justice Department officials to review the attorney general's four-page letter he sent to Congress on March 24 that summarized the special counsel's main findings.

On Sunday, House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler slammed Barr as "a biased defender of the administration"-comments that came just days after his committee voted to authorize him to subpoena the Justice Department for the full, unredacted Mueller report in case the public version proves unsatisfactory". "You will recall that the special counsel did spin off a number of cases that are still being pursued", Barr told lawmakers. She also suggested Barr had made up his mind on the obstruction question long ago, pointing to a memo he wrote in June 2018 on his view that a president can not legally obstruct justice.

Explaining the rapid turnaround for his letter, Mr Barr said: "The thinking of the special counsel was not a mystery to the Department of Justice prior to the submission of the report".

"We still have not heard from the attorney general", he added.

Republicans have criticized Democrats' efforts to obtain additional materials from the Mueller report, accusing them of an unwillingness to accept the results of Mueller's investigation and arguing there's no precedent for Nadler to seek grand jury material unless he launches impeachment proceedings.

Barr said that he reviewed Mueller's evidence and made his own determination that Trump should not face obstruction charges. In addition, some members of Mueller's team are spreading the word that they are unhappy with the way Barr characterized their work, according to media reports.

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Across the Capitol, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he had no concerns with Barr's handling of the report: "I think it really comes down to a question of whether you trust Bill Barr or not".

But one quote from Mr Mueller's conclusions that Mr Barr revealed suggested a different view on obstruction. Barr's promised release does not satisfy those who do not trust the Trump-appointed AG to handle the redaction process appropriately.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz's report about that could be done in May or June, Barr said. The document makes no mention of Mueller's report or the Russian Federation investigation.

Barr was summoned to Congress to talk about his department's budget request, but lawmakers still asked about the Mueller report as they waited to see it. Barr's opening remarks focused on funding requests for immigration enforcement and the fights against violent crime and opioid addiction, not mentioning the special counsel's report at all.

While the US public has clamored for a full disclosure of the report with as few redactions as possible, Barr said the redactions to the report-currently underway-will be based upon legal requirements concerning material produced by the grand jury, classified intelligence material, information connected to open or ongoing investigations, and material that would impact the privacy or reputations of individuals peripheral to the probe.

"I personally believe not all of it is going to be great for the White House, " Burr said.

"Within a week I will be in a position to release the report to the public", Mr Barr told the House Appropriations Committee.

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