Ex-federal prosecutor knocks Barr for not pursuing obstruction of justice charge against Trump

Former federal prosecutor Gene Rossi on Monday criticized Attorney General William Barr's decision not to pursue an obstruction of justice charge against President TrumpDonald John TrumpAmash responds to 'Send her back' chants at Trump rally: 'This is how history's worst episodes begin' McConnell: Trump 'on to something' with attacks on Dem congresswomen Trump blasts 'corrupt' Puerto Rico's leaders amid political crisis MORE

"Did Mueller say, 'I want you, Bill Barr, to make the decision?' Or did Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTop Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE say, 'It's a jump ball and I want Congress to make the decision,'" Rossi told hosts Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton on Hill. TV's "Rising." "We need to know that answer." 

"We had a jump ball. There were pros and cons as to whether to charge the president of the United States. That's in the letter," he continued. "It didn't say we could charge him. It didn't say we exonerate him."

"Bill Barr should not have decided that jump ball because ... he already determined that the possession arrow should go in favor of Donald Trump," Rossi said. "In June of 2018, he already said 'there's no obstruction.' So I have to criticize the attorney general — for whom I was very complimentary — that was a bad decision, and it taints this letter." 

Rossi, who is a Democrat, has been critical of Trump in relation to the Russia probe.

His comments come after Barr released a summary of Mueller's report to Congress on Sunday, saying there was no evidence the Trump campaign coordinated or conspired with Russia during the 2016 presidential election. 

Barr said he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, upon reviewing Mueller's findings, determined that the president did not obstruct justice.

Democrats have since called for all of the background materials that led to that conclusion to be released.

— Julia Manchester