Attorney General William Barr is testifying before the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday. Though the testimony will focus on the Department of Justice budget, Democrats on the committee are expected to hammer Barr over his handling of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Trump campaign’s relationship with Russia.
The criticism will be led by committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY). “I want to address a serious oversight matter — your unacceptable handling of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report,” she plans to tell Barr. “It’s been reported that the report is 300-400 pages, and I use the term ‘reported’ because we have no idea how long it actually is.”
“All we have is your four-page summary letter, which seems to cherry pick from the report to draw the most favorable conclusion possible for the president. In many ways, your letter raises more questions than it answers,” she plans to add. “I must say, it is extraordinary to evaluate hundreds of pages of evidence, legal documents, and findings based on a 22-month long inquiry and make definitive legal conclusions in less than 48 hours. Even for someone who has done this job before, I would argue it is more suspicious than impressive.”
The testimony is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. Eastern, and will be broadcast live on C-SPAN. It can also be streamed below.
Barr will likely be asked to explain his decision to release such a narrow summary of Mueller’s report barely 48 hours after it was submitted to the Justice Department. Last week, some members of the special counsel’s team described Barr’s conclusions as not entirely accurate. Barr has said he will release a redacted version of the full report this month, but Democrats are demanding the report be turned over without redactions.
Lowey is optimistic that her committee will be able to gain some insight into Barr’s thinking when they question him on Tuesday. “I hope and I expect that it will be open, honest dialogue and perhaps we can understand why the whole report wasn’t made public immediately,” she said.