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

Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrClash with Trump marks latest break with GOP leaders for Justin Amash Schiff: Impeachment proceedings could be 'tool' to get information, evidence Trump fires back at 'loser' GOP lawmaker who said he'd engaged in 'impeachable conduct' MORE said he didn’t believe it was inappropriate for him to make remarks on special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe 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 TrumpTrump: 'I will not let Iran have nuclear weapons' Rocket attack hits Baghdad's Green Zone amid escalating tensions: reports Buttigieg on Trump tweets: 'I don't care' 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 NadlerDemocrats are running out of stunts to pull from impeachment playbook Trump asks if Nadler will look into Clinton's 'deleted and acid washed' emails Trump tweets conservative commentator's criticism of FBI director 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 Cummings5 things to watch as Trump, Dems clash over investigations Republicans defend drug company in spotlight over HIV medication prices Advocate praises Warren's opioid proposal: 'The scale of the plan is absolutely right' 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.”