Joe diGenova, an informal adviser to President TrumpDonald TrumpOhio Republican who voted to impeach Trump says he won't seek reelection Youngkin breaks with Trump on whether Democrats will cheat in the Virginia governor's race Trump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race MORE, defended Attorney General William BarrBill BarrAttorney indicted on charge of lying to FBI as part of Durham investigation Milley moved to limit Trump military strike abilities after Jan. 6, Woodward book claims: report Former US attorney enters race for governor in Pennsylvania MORE during a Thursday appearance on Hill.TV, saying Barr is "one of the finest lawyers this country has ever produced."
The former U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia and staunch Trump backer made the remarks while being interviewed by hosts Buck Sexton and Krystal Ball, who asked if Barr might have lied in his comments about whether a sitting president can be indicted.
"I'm asking if Barr is a liar, is really the question," Ball said, referencing Thursday's press conference with Barr to discuss special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE's report.
"Don't you dare suggest that Bill Barr is a liar," diGenova said. "I've known him for 30 years. He's one of the finest lawyers this country has ever produced."
"There's not one shred of evidence that anything he said — either the other day, or now, or today — was a lie," diGenova added. "Don't ever say that in front of me about Bill Barr. You have no evidence that he lied, and you know it."
"What I'm telling you is that what he said today is inconsistent with what's in the report," Ball responded.
"That's not a lie," diGenova shot back.
"OK, fine," Ball said.
"It's not fine. You're on national television calling the attorney general a liar," diGenova said.
"I didn't say that," Ball responded.
"You suggested it very strongly," diGenova said.
Mueller's report suggests that the investigation into whether Trump obstructed justice was influenced in part by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), which says a sitting president cannot be indicted.
Barr told reporters during Thursday's news conference that Justice Department officials had asked Mueller “about the OLC opinion and whether or not he was taking the position that he would have found a crime but for the existence of the OLC opinion.”
“He made it very clear, several times, that he was not taking a position — he was not saying but for the OLC opinion he would have found a crime,” Barr said.
Congressional Democrats have said they want Mueller to testify on Capitol Hill to answer questions about his report.
— Julia Manchester
Updated on February 19, 2020 at 7:47 a.m.
Disclosure: Joseph diGenova and Victoria Toensing legally represent John Solomon, a former executive at The Hill who started Hill.TV.