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

Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrHolder rips into William Barr: 'He is unfit to lead the Justice Department' Five takeaways on Horowitz's testimony on Capitol Hill Budowsky: Would John McCain back impeachment? MORE said he didn’t believe it was inappropriate for him to make remarks on special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerJeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House panel debates articles of impeachment Trump says he'll release financial records before election, knocks Dems' efforts 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 TrumpSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial Vulnerable Democrats tout legislative wins, not impeachment Trump appears to set personal record for tweets in a day 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 NadlerJudiciary members battle over whether GOP treated fairly in impeachment hearings Live coverage: House panel debates articles of impeachment House passes bill that would give legal status to thousands of undocumented farmworkers 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 CummingsCongressional investigation finds Coast Guard leadership fell short on handling bullying Trump request for Ukrainian 'favor' tops notable quote list Impeachment can't wait 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.”