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 TrumpA better VA, with mental health services, is essential for America's veterans Pelosi, Nadler tangle on impeachment, contempt vote Trump arrives in Japan to kick off 4-day state visit MORE

"Did Mueller say, 'I want you, Bill Barr, to make the decision?' Or did Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump orders more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions Trump: Democrats just want Mueller to testify for a 'do-over' Graham: Mueller investigation a 'political rectal exam' 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