Barr denies 'impropriety' after reporter asks whether he's spinning Mueller report

Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham Barr10 questions for Robert Mueller Democratic lawmaker calls asylum, refugee programs 'crown jewel' of immigration system Trump says he won't watch Mueller testimony MORE said he didn’t believe it was inappropriate for him to make remarks on special counsel 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’s findings before their release Thursday.

Asked by Ryan Reilly of HuffPost if it was “an impropriety for you to come out and sort of spin the report before people are able to read it,” Barr succinctly replied, “No,” before ending the press conference shortly thereafter.

 

During the highly anticipated press conference, Barr said President TrumpDonald John TrumpLiz Cheney: 'Send her back' chant 'inappropriate' but not about race, gender Booker: Trump is 'worse than a racist' Top Democrat insists country hasn't moved on from Mueller MORE had faced an “unprecedented situation” in the Mueller investigation and that the president was frustrated by a "sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents and fueled by illegal leaks.”

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Media figures and congressional Democrats have questioned the appropriateness of Barr’s decision to hold the morning press conference ahead of releasing the full report both since the conference was announced Wednesday and in the wake of Barr's Thursday comments.

On Wednesday evening, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerWhy are we permitting federal child abuse at our border? Trump knocks Mueller after deal struck for him to testify House Democrats request briefing on Epstein, Acosta MORE (D-N.Y.) said the press conference was “waging a media campaign on behalf of President Trump.”

“Rather than letting the facts of the report speak for themselves, the attorney general has taken unprecedented steps to spin Mueller’s nearly 2-year investigation,” Nadler said.

House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsCummings: 'No doubt about it' Trump is a racist Cummings asks prosecutors about decision not to charge Trump in hush money probe DHS chief to Pelosi: Emergency border funding 'has already had an impact' MORE (D-Md.) also blasted the announcement Wednesday night, accusing Barr of “debasing the rule of law, degrading our democratic institutions, and decimating any trust the American people have left in this Administration.”

Shortly after the press conference concluded, Fox News’s Chris Wallace opined that it had served to spin Mueller’s findings in Trump’s favor.

"The attorney general seemed almost to be acting as the counselor for the defense, the counselor for the president, rather than the attorney general, talking about his motives, his emotions," Wallace said.

Shortly after Barr finished, Nadler demanded Mueller should testify immediately before his committee and “no later than May 23.”