House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) joined many other House Democrats on Thursday accusing Attorney General Bill Barr of “committing a crime” and “lying to Congress.”
“He lied to Congress. He lied to Congress. And if anybody else did that, it would be considered a crime. Nobody is above the law. Not the president of the United States and not the attorney general,” she said at a press conference after Barr did not appear for a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee.
“Being attorney general does not give you a bath to go say whatever you want. And it is the fact because you are the attorney general, it just isn’t true,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi confirmed her comments minutes later on Twitter, saying that Barr’s “decision to mislead the public in his testimony to Congress was not a technicality—it was a crime.”
Attorney General Barr’s decision to mislead the public in his testimony to Congress was not a technicality — it was a crime.
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) May 2, 2019
When asked at the press conference if Barr should “go to jail,” Pelosi faltered and gestured at the gaggle before responding.
“There’s a process involved here, and as I said, I’ll say it again, and answer any questions you may have. And the committee will act upon how we will proceed,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi’s and other Democrats’s calls for his imprisonment came after statements that Barr made at a previous House hearing where he said that he was not aware of any concerns Special Counsel Robert Mueller may have had following his four page summary of the report that he released before putting out the whole thing.
These statements, Democrats argue, contradict a letter which Mueller sent to Barr, informing him that his 4-page letter did not capture the full report.
“The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office’s work and conclusions,” Mueller wrote. “There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation. This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations.”
Barr said in his Senate testimony on Thursday that, in a later phone call with Mueller, the special counsel clarified that he was more concerned with the media coverage of Barr’s letter than the document itself.
“My understanding was that his concern was not the accuracy of the findings in my letter, but that he wanted more out there to provide additional context to explain why he didn’t reach a decision on obstruction,” Barr said.