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Former FBI official praises Barr for 'professional' press conference

A former FBI official is praising Attorney General William BarrBill BarrBudowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated Two-thirds say the election was fair: poll The Hill's Morning Report - An inauguration like no other MORE for his press conference before releasing special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerWhy a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump MORE’s report.

“I wanted to commend AG Barr on his professional press conference,” Jeff Danik, now a manager member at consultant group Danik Solutions, told Hill.TV’s Buck Sexton during an interview on Thursday.

“This is a good indication that an adult was in the room today on the press conference,” Danik added.

Barr held a press conference Thursday morning before releasing the report to Congress. In his remarks, he repeatedly defended President TrumpDonald TrumpNYT: Rep. Perry played role in alleged Trump plan to oust acting AG Arizona GOP censures top state Republicans McCain, Flake and Ducey Biden and UK prime minister discuss NATO, multilateralism during call MORE and explained why he did not find obstruction of justice based on Mueller's findings. Barr also emphasized that it was important to consider the "context" of Trump's actions, saying the president faced an “unprecedented situation” during the investigation. 

Barr faced heavy criticism for his remarks at the press conference. Democrats said Barr acted more like a defense lawyer for the president than the nation's attorney general.

“Barr is acting more like Trump’s defense attorney than the nation's Attorney General,” Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisBiden must wait weekend for State Department pick Senators introduce bill to award Officer Goodman the Congressional Gold Medal An ally in the White House is good for abortion access, but not enough MORE (D-Calif.) tweeted following the news conference.

Top Democrats House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSunday shows preview: All eyes on Biden administration to tackle coronavirus Calls grow for 9/11-style panel to probe Capitol attack Do Democrats really want unity? MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerCapitol insurrection fallout: A PATRIOT Act 2.0? Schumer calls for DOJ watchdog to probe alleged Trump effort to oust acting AG Student loan forgiveness would be windfall for dentists, doctors and lawyers MORE (D-N.Y) also took issue with Barr’s characterization of the report.

"As we continue to review the report, one thing is clear: Attorney General Barr presented a conclusion that the president did not obstruct justice while Mueller's report appears to undercut that finding," they said in a joint statement on Thursday.

—Tess Bonn