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‘I’m afraid’: Pelosi says she doesn’t trust Barr
Nancy Pelosi confessed that she’s “afraid” and doesn’t “trust” Attorney General William Barr. The House speaker, who has long accused Barr of a “cover-up,” said that she has accepted an offer for more lawmakers to view a less-redacted version of the Mueller report because she doesn’t trust Barr. Pelosi previously rejected a similar offer from the Justice Department.
“I really don’t trust the attorney general of the United States and I’m afraid,” Pelosi said Wednesday at a media breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.
Pelosi “afraid” of Barr
Pelosi’s concern is not new. The Speaker has suggested that Barr engaged in a cover-up of some kind since Robert Mueller’s investigation ended in March when she called Barr’s letter summarizing the probe “condescending.” The Democrat leader said that she initially rejected an offer for only party leaders to view a less-redacted version of the report, but she warmed up to accepting a deal with the Justice Department for more lawmakers to view it, citing her mistrust of Barr.
“I don’t know if this is news or it was news last week but we will be having access to [a] less-redacted version of the Mueller report. I had said originally if the whole country can’t see what they show us, we shouldn’t see it,” Pelosi said. “But I have. When we had the offer of this less-redacted for many more people than just the leadership I accepted that because I’m afraid.”
The speaker and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) rejected an offer from the DOJ to view a less-redacted version of the report in April. The offer came during the frantic days immediately following the end of Mueller’s investigation, as Democrats wildly accused Barr of covering up Trump’s alleged misdeeds with a misleading roll-out of the report. Pelosi then accused Barr of going “off the rails” for saying that Trump’s campaign was spied on and publicly stated that she didn’t trust Barr with the Mueller report.
Mueller’s report established that Trump did not collude with Russia, but was inconclusive on whether Trump obstructed the investigation. Barr determined that there was insufficient evidence to charge Trump with obstruction. At a press conference last month, Mueller said that indicting Trump was “not an option,” leading many Democrats to claim that Mueller intended for Congress to impeach Trump.
Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee voted to hold Barr in contempt in May over his refusal to hand over an unredacted version of the report. Earlier this month, Democrats on the panel put the contempt vote on hold as House Democrats moved ahead with separate contempt measures against the attorney general.
An ironic admission
Pelosi showed concern about Barr early and often, saying in April, “I don’t trust Barr, I trust Mueller.” But at his press conference last month, Mueller said that he trusted Barr handled the Mueller report “in good faith.”
Somewhat ironically, while Pelosi says she is afraid of Barr over his handling of the Mueller report, there may be another reason. The attorney general is currently overseeing a sweeping investigation of the Obama administration’s spying on the Trump campaign. Democrats, senior intelligence officials, and mainstream media have all blasted Barr’s review as a distraction from the Mueller report and a possible threat to national security, especially after Trump gave Barr sweeping authority to declassify documents related to the spying.
Democrats, including Pelosi, have accused Barr of “elevating conspiracy theories” by stating that spying occurred.
For Republicans, this defensiveness is a sign that Democrats and intelligence officials are afraid of whatever Barr may find. Barr tapped corruption investigator U.S. Attorney John Durham for his probe, who is said to be “dialed in.” A report by the Department of Justice’s Inspector General Michael Horowitz is highly anticipated by Republicans as well, who expect that indictments may be forthcoming for the likes of former FBI director James Comey.
For his part, Barr hasn’t shown any signs of concern about the Democrats’ attacks on his character. After Pelosi accused Barr of breaking the law, the unflappable top cop reportedly asked Pelosi whether she brought handcuffs to arrest him at an event in May.
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