Mueller report: US Attorney General William Barr cancels second day of testimony | News | DW | 02.05.2019
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Mueller report: US Attorney General William Barr cancels second day of testimony

US Attorney General William Barr has said he will skip a hearing on the Mueller report, hours after a tense round of questioning in the Senate. Democrats have accused the Trump administration of "stonewalling" Congress.

US Attorney General William Barr has said he will not meet with the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee on Thursday, where he was scheduled to testify on his handling of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.

After meeting with the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, Barr ruled out a subsequent testimony with the Democratic-controlled House Judiciary Committee. His decision to cancel the second day of questioning has further inflamed tensions between US President Donald Trump and Democrats in Congress.

Read more: Democrats file subpoena for full Mueller report

The Justice Department said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler was trying to place "unprecedented and unnecessary conditions" on the attorney general for Thursday's hearing. Barr has objected to the committee's plan to have attorneys from both sides, Democrats and Republicans, do the questioning, alongside committee lawmakers.

Nadler, a Democrat representing New York, accused Barr of being "terrified" to speak before his committee.

"It's simply part of the administrations complete stonewalling of Congress," Nadler told reporters.

Watch video 02:18

US officials release redacted Mueller report

'Snitty' letter from Mueller

The Mueller report into Russian meddling in the 2016 US election was handed over to the Justice Department in March, though the full 448-page document has yet to be made public. Barr released a redacted version in April, and said it proved that Mueller had found "no collusion by any American" with the Russians. He also said there was insufficient evidence to prove Trump had obstructed the investigation.

However, on March 27, shortly after Mueller released his report, the special counsel wrote a letter to Barr expressing his concerns about the attorney general's portrayal of the report's conclusions. The letter was only disclosed shortly before Barr's hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

"The letter's a bit snitty," Barr said during Wednesday's hearing, adding that he thought it was probably written by someone on Mueller's staff. 

Barr said he had called Mueller the next day and said: "What's with the letter? Why don't you just pick up the phone and call me if there was an issue?"

Barr also dismissed claims he had exonerated Trump of obstruction, but said "we didn't believe there was sufficient evidence to establish an obstruction offense."

dv/cmk (AP, Reuters)

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