Attorney General William Barr has reportedly formed a team to review long-standing allegations that the FBI and Justice Department investigation into collusion between President Donald Trump and Russian Federation was biased from the start.
William Barr made the announcement on Tuesday his team will review decisions made by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department during the probe of the Trump campaign.
Nita Lowey (D-NY) laid into Attorney General William Barr at his budgetary hearing before the House Appropriations Committee.
Barr was summoned to Congress to talk about his department's budget request, but lawmakers still asked about the Mueller report as they waited to see it. Barr's opening remarks focused on funding requests for immigration enforcement and the fights against violent crime and opioid addiction, not mentioning the special counsel's report at all.
It is not clear, however, if Mueller's report found that Trump obstructed justice during the investigation.
Democrats scolded Barr over his handling of the report, telling him they were concerned that a summary of its main conclusions he released last month portrayed the investigation's findings in an overly favourable way for President Donald Trump.
Others have said Barr made the right decision on the obstruction question, noting that it is hard to prove that Trump committed criminal obstruction if Mueller did not find that he destroyed evidence or directly interfered with the investigation - even though he assailed the inquiry as a "witch hunt" and called the investigators partisan zealots. Instead, after the initial release of the report to the public, Barr said he plans to engage with the chairmen of both Congressional judiciary committees in order to deal with potential backlash.
"I don't intend at this stage to send the full, unredacted report to the committee", Barr said, adding that wouldn't ask a court to release grand jury material "Until someone shows me a provision" that allows it to be released.
For most people who aren't as obsessed with the Mueller investigation, that line of reasoning is likely too confusing to follow.
"It is like fundamentally rigging the game before we know what the actual score is", said Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe, who worked with Barr on a telecommunications case in the 1990s.
"That's great news he's looking into how this whole thing started back in 2016", Rep. Jim Jordan of OH, the top Republican on the House Oversight and Reform Committee, said Tuesday of Barr's interest in the issue.
Following Mr Barr's announcement, Representative Jim Jordan of OH said: "it's great news he's looking into how this whole thing started back in 2016". Barr made one thing certain.
"I think spying did occur", Barr told the senators, his words blowing another massive hole in the Democrats' carefully-crafted messaging edifice.
"I'm not going to discuss it any further until after the report is out", he said.
Republicans and Fox News hosts have repeatedly - and falsely - claimed that the Russian Federation investigations "started with this dossier".
Though he said the document will be redacted to withhold negative information about peripheral figures in the investigation, he said that would not apply to Trump, who is an officeholder and central to the probe. He noted that every page of the Mueller report was marked sensitive and that nothing in the special counsel's submission was "sanitized" for immediate release.