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
© Getty Images

Democratic presidential hopefuls raced on Thursday to condemn Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Association of Manufacturers - Trump defends Ukraine motives while attacking Biden Trump walks tightrope on gun control Feinstein calls on Justice to push for release of Trump whistleblower report MORE’s news conference ahead of the highly anticipated release of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerFox News legal analyst says Trump call with Ukraine leader could be 'more serious' than what Mueller 'dragged up' Lewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Fox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network MORE’s report.

The Democrats accused him of mounting a campaign to defend President TrumpDonald John TrumpNYT publisher: US didn't step in to protect reporter from arrest in Egypt so paper turned to Ireland Trump instructed administration to withhold military aid for Ukraine days before call with president: report More Democrats threaten impeachment over Trump's dealings with Ukraine MORE in the face of potentially damaging revelations.


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 WarrenOvernight Health Care — Presented by Better Medicare Alliance — Family planning providers ask court to block Trump abortion rule | Warren under pressure over how to pay for 'Medicare for All' | Juul reportedly facing criminal probe Pressure on Pelosi to impeach Trump grows Democrats say battle with Trump may help Biden 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 BookerPressure on Pelosi to impeach Trump grows DNC raises qualifying thresholds for fifth presidential debate Biden extends lead over Warren, Sanders MORE (D-N.J.) tweeted. “This is undermining the independence of this entire process.” 

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharKrystal Ball: Democrats on track to nominate Warren, lose to Trump Entrepreneurs create most new jobs: Why aren't we talking about them? Biden extends lead over Warren, Sanders 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 SwalwellThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump defends call as Ukraine controversy deepens Markey fundraises ahead of Kennedy primary challenge The Hill's Campaign Report: De Blasio drops out | Warren gains support from black voters | Sanders retools campaign team | Warning signs for Tillis in NC 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 GillibrandDNC raises qualifying thresholds for fifth presidential debate The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump defends call as Ukraine controversy deepens New Hampshire feels overlooked in Democratic presidential race 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."