Barr on McGahn testimony: 'We haven't waived his privilege'

Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrFederal prosecutors interviewed multiple FBI officials for Russia probe review: report Mulvaney walks back comments tying Ukraine aid to 2016 probe Mulvaney ties withheld Ukraine aid to political probe sought by Trump MORE on Wednesday said it wasn’t clear that former White House counsel Don McGahn would testify to Congress, saying, “We haven’t waived his privilege.”

Barr’s use of the word “we” immediately created a storm on social media, with critics of Barr saying it highlighted how he has used his office as an extension of the White House.

ADVERTISEMENT

The remarks took place during an exchange between Barr and Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDemocrats dig in ahead of Supreme Court ruling on 'Dreamers' Senate GOP braces for impeachment trial 'roller coaster' Trump judicial nominee delayed amid GOP pushback MORE (D-Ill.) during high-profile Senate Judiciary Committee testimony.

Barr told lawmakers that McGahn was a “close adviser to the president" when asked whether he objected to him testifying before Congress. 

“Do you have any objections" to McGahn testifying? Durbin asked. 

“Yes, I think he is a close adviser to the president,” Barr answered.  

Mueller's final report, a redacted version of which Barr released on April 18, detailed nearly a dozen instances in which Trump may have obstructed justice. McGahn's testimony to the special counsel was featured extensively.

Mueller wrote that Trump directed McGahn to have Mueller fired based on alleged conflicts of interest, which the former White House counsel refused to carry out.

Democrats have subpoenaed McGahn to testify publicly before the House Judiciary Committee later this month. The White House has signaled plans to potentially fight the subpoena by asserting executive privilege. 

When pressed by Durbin on whether McGahn should be allowed to testify, Barr answered it would ultimately be up to President TrumpDonald John TrumpPelosi arrives in Jordan with bipartisan congressional delegation Trump says his Doral resort will no longer host G-7 after backlash CNN's Anderson Cooper mocks WH press secretary over Fox News interview MORE

“That’s a call for the president,” Barr said.