Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., slammed Attorney General Bill Barr on Thursday, stopping just short of asking for his resignation after saying the redacted Mueller report showed Barr misled the American people with his summary report last month.
The House Intelligence Committee chairman held a news conference just hours after the nearly 400-page redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report was released to the public.
Schiff claimed Barr “did a great disservice to the county by misrepresenting significant parts of the Mueller report, by attempting to put a positive spin for the president on the special counsel's findings” last month.
The Democrat continued: “On the issue of obstruction of justice, the report outlines multiple attempts by the president to mislead the country, to interfere with the investigation, to make false statements to the American people and to urge others to lie to the American people... that these actions had a material impact on the investigation.”
Schiff argued that whether the acts were considered criminal or not, they “are deeply alarming in the president of the United States.”
Barr wrote in his summary last month that he'd concluded, based on Mueller's investigation, that there was insufficient proof the president obstructed justice.
“The attorney general is not the president’s personal lawyer, although he may feel he is.”
Schiff also said the Mueller report provided further information, not yet know to the public, about contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russians, “whether they rise to the level of a criminal conspiracy or not.”
He mentioned specifically about the controversial June 2016 meeting involving Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower.
Schiff said Mueller found that while there was evidence of conspiracy, the special counsel could not establish willful intent to violate the law or that material received from the meeting was sufficiently damaging to meet the statutory definition - making no criminal case.
“That is a far cry from saying there is no evidence,” Schiff argued.
He would not say whether he thought Barr should resign but argued he did not feel that Barr acted with the American people in mind. “The attorney general is not the president’s personal lawyer, although he may feel he is.”
Schiff added that he intended to get the full unredacted report and would seek testimony from Barr, who said earlier at a news conference that he would not oppose such a request.
“If the special counsel, as he made clear, had found evidence exonerating the president, he would have said so. He did not. He left that issue to the Congress of the United States and we will need to consider it.”
Criminal or not, Schiff said there was more that needed to be looked into based on the report -- and made a Nixonian charge against President Trump.
“The standard simply cannot be that you can do anything you like as long as you can declare at the end of the day, ‘I am not a crook.’”