Specifically, the special counsel’s report indicated that there were 10 instances of possible obstruction of justice by Trump, including efforts to have Mueller fired and pressuring former AG Jeff Sessions to unrecuse himself.
Barr’s comments were remarkable.
“Although the Deputy Attorney General and I disagreed with some of the Special Counsel’s legal theories and felt that some of the episodes examined did not amount to obstruction as a matter of law, we did not rely solely on that in making our decision,” Barr said.
Barr added that Trump’s emotions in his attempts to obstruct justice did not amount to criminal intent. In other words, Trump was angry, but not corrupt.
“In assessing the President’s actions discussed in the report, it is important to bear in mind the context,” Barr said in his prepared remarks. “President Trump faced an unprecedented situation. As he entered into office, and sought to perform his responsibilities as President, federal agents and prosecutors were scrutinizing his conduct before and after taking office, and the conduct of some of his associates. At the same time, there was relentless speculation in the news media about the President’s personal culpability.”
This was an extraordinary split from traditional legal standards.
Bill Barr is wrong. There is nothing, nada, zilch in the Obstruction of Justice statute that says the defendant must also commit a second, underlying crime.
People have been prosecuted for Obstruction even if they did not commit an underlying crime. Barr is making this up. https://t.co/ipRElAVDXe
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) April 18, 2019
Barr says he and Rosenstein disagree with Mueller's legal theories about possible obstruction of justice before letting anyone see what Mueller's theories are..and says whatever Trump did was out of his sincere belief that the investigation about collusion was baseless. Wow…
— Jeff Greenfield (@greenfield64) April 18, 2019
Barr claims a defense for Trump to obstruction is he "was frustrated & angered by a sincere belief" the probe undermined him
Anger is not a defense to corrupt intent
Sincerity is the only valid part- a person who intends to cooperate, not obstruct, can claim that's their intent
— Ari Melber (@AriMelber) April 18, 2019
AG Barr essentially says the President gets a pass on obstruction because there was no collusion, so Trump can be excused for being frustrated by speculation to the contrary. Throwing sand into the gears of justice appear not to matter when there is no underlying crime.
— Josh Campbell (@joshscampbell) April 18, 2019
Barr sounded more like Trump’s defense attorney than the American people’s top constitutional defender.
This is a total goatfuck.
This isn’t a briefing. It’s a full-throated defense of Trump.
Barr just admitted he disagreed with Mueller’s legal opinion on obstruction.
— Angry Staffer (@AngrierWHStaff) April 18, 2019
54/ Barr is providing *exactly* the full-throated obstruction defense of Trump that his lawyers would give. This is embarrassing. This is a dark day for the DOJ.
— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) April 18, 2019
Democrats in the House have demanded that Barr turn over Mueller’s full, unreacted report by May 23.
“It is clear Congress and the American people must hear from Special Counsel Robert Mueller in person to better understand his findings. We are now requesting Mueller to appear before @HouseJudiciary as soon as possible,” House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler (D-NY) tweeted Thursday.
It is clear Congress and the American people must hear from Special Counsel Robert Mueller in person to better understand his findings. We are now requesting Mueller to appear before @HouseJudiciary as soon as possible. pic.twitter.com/Mmo6PA4KPt
— (((Rep. Nadler))) (@RepJerryNadler) April 18, 2019
Likewise, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have requested that Mueller to testify as soon as possible.
“Attorney General Barr’s regrettably partisan handling of the Mueller report, including his slanted March 24th summary letter, his irresponsible testimony before Congress last week, and his indefensible plan to spin the report in a press conference later this morning — hours before he allows the public or Congress to see it — have resulted in a crisis of confidence in his independence and impartiality,” Pelosi and Schumer wrote in a statement.
“We believe the only way to begin restoring public trust in the handling of the Special Counsel’s investigation is for Special Counsel Mueller himself to provide public testimony in the House and Senate as soon as possible.”