2020 Democrats blast Barr's defense of Trump before Mueller report's release

2020 Democrats blast Barr's defense of Trump before Mueller report's release
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Democratic presidential hopefuls raced on Thursday to condemn Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrPelosi, Nadler tangle on impeachment, contempt vote Five takeaways from Barr's new powers in 'spying' probe Trump declassification move unnerves Democrats MORE’s news conference ahead of the highly anticipated release of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump orders more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions Trump: Democrats just want Mueller to testify for a 'do-over' Graham: Mueller investigation a 'political rectal exam' MORE’s report.

The Democrats accused him of mounting a campaign to defend President TrumpDonald John TrumpA better VA, with mental health services, is essential for America's veterans Pelosi, Nadler tangle on impeachment, contempt vote Trump arrives in Japan to kick off 4-day state visit MORE in the face of potentially damaging revelations.

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A redacted version of Mueller’s report detailing the findings of the special counsel investigation into whether Trump’s campaign conspired with the Russian government during the 2016 election was set for release on Thursday morning.

But less than two hours before it was expected to be made public, Barr held a news conference in which he offered a robust defense of the president and explained his reasoning for not pursuing an obstruction of justice case against Trump.

“It's a disgrace to see an Attorney General acting as if he's the personal attorney and publicist for the President of the United States,” Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenGillibrand seizes on abortion debate to jump-start campaign CEO pay rising twice as fast as worker pay: AP Senate Democrats to House: Tamp down the impeachment talk MORE (D-Mass.) wrote on Twitter after Barr’s press conference.

“Yet again Attorney General Barr has tried to spin the Mueller report before providing the actual report or the evidence underlying it,” Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerGillibrand seizes on abortion debate to jump-start campaign 2020 hopeful John Delaney unveils T climate plan Harris readies a Phase 2 as she seeks to rejuvenate campaign MORE (D-N.J.) tweeted. “This is undermining the independence of this entire process.” 

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean Klobuchar2020 hopeful John Delaney unveils T climate plan Samantha Bee slams 2020 Democrats who go on Fox News Poll: Harris, Warren climb as Biden maintains lead MORE (D-Minn.), who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, demanded that Mueller himself appear before the panel, asserting that only he could offer answers about the findings of his investigation.

“He should be able to give us his own views of what happened here so we can answer questions,” Klobuchar said in a video posted online. “He’s the one that conducted this major investigation and he’s the one — not Attorney General Barr — that should answer the questions of America.”

Among the most vocal of the 2020 contenders was Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellHouse Intelligence enjoys breakthrough with Justice Department Hillicon Valley: Assange hit with 17 more charges | Facebook removes record 2.2B fake profiles | Senate passes anti-robocall bill | Senators offer bill to help companies remove Huawei equipment On The Money: Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump | Trump to offer B aid package for farmers | House votes to boost retirement savings | Study says new tariffs to double costs for consumers MORE (D-Calif.), who unleashed a flurry of tweets on Thursday decrying Barr’s news conference as a partisan defense of Trump.

“Very interesting press conference by Trump...I mean, Barr,” Swalwell tweeted.

“If Barr believed in the rule of law, he’d let the report speak for itself, not hold a news conference to spin it on the President’s behalf,” he wrote in another tweet.

Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandGillibrand seizes on abortion debate to jump-start campaign Senate Democrats to House: Tamp down the impeachment talk Senate confirms Army, Navy chiefs MORE (D-N.Y.) also weighed in.

"AG Barr’s press conference was a farce and an embarrassing display of propaganda on behalf of President Trump," Gillibrand said. "Barr works for the people, not the president. They deserve to know Mueller’s full findings because nobody—especially not the president—is immune from accountability."