Dems seize on Mueller obstruction of justice conclusion

Democrats are seizing on Attorney General William Barr’s decision to conclude there was no obstruction of justice by President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says voters should choose who nominates Supreme Court justice Trump, Biden will not shake hands at first debate due to COVID-19 Pelosi: Trump Supreme Court pick 'threatens' Affordable Care Act MORE in the Russia investigation, arguing that special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE’s report must be made public.

Barr said Mueller did not reach a conclusion on obstruction of justice but that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinDOJ kept investigators from completing probe of Trump ties to Russia: report Five takeaways from final Senate Intel Russia report FBI officials hid copies of Russia probe documents fearing Trump interference: book MORE made that determination after reviewing the report.

“After reviewing the Special Counsel’s final report on these issues; consulting with Department officials, including the Office of Legal Counsel; and applying the principles of federal prosecution that guide our charging decisions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and I have concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel’s investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense,” Barr wrote.

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“Our determination was made without regard to, and is not based on, the constitutional considerations that surround the indictment and criminal prosecution of a sitting president,” he continued.

Mueller did find that there was no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in Moscow’s interference in the last presidential election.

Democrats accused Barr of putting his own finding on Mueller’s report, noting that Mueller himself did not exonerate Trump of obstruction of justice, even if he did not explicitly state that Trump had committed obstruction.  

“A sanitized summary from Trump’s handpicked bodyguard is not acceptable,” said Rep. Bill PascrellWilliam (Bill) James PascrellRep. Bill Pascrell named chair of House oversight panel Trump says people 'in the dark shadows' are controlling Biden Democrats tear into Trump's 'deep state' tweet: His 'lies and recklessness' have 'killed people' MORE (D-N.J.). “Barr has his finger on the scale to protect Trump. The full report should be released immediately.”

“From day one, Trump obstructed this investigation and refused to cooperate. Several of his top aides have been convicted in court. If Trump’s AG won’t hold him accountable for his crimes, it’s up to Congress to investigate,” Pascrell continued, adding that “the ball is now squarely in our court.”

Democrats seeking the party’s nomination to run against Trump in 2020, including Sens. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for SCOTUS confirmation hearings before election The movement to reform animal agriculture has reached a tipping point Watchdog confirms State Dept. canceled award for journalist who criticized Trump MORE (N.J.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandSunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for SCOTUS confirmation hearings before election Sunday shows preview: Justice Ginsburg dies, sparking partisan battle over vacancy before election Suburban moms are going to decide the 2020 election MORE (N.Y.), Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisPelosi: Trump Supreme Court pick 'threatens' Affordable Care Act What Kamala Harris' VP nomination means to us Harris slams Trump's Supreme Court pick as an attempt to 'destroy the Affordable Care Act' MORE (Calif.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOvernight Defense: Appeals court revives House lawsuit against military funding for border wall | Dems push for limits on transferring military gear to police | Lawmakers ask for IG probe into Pentagon's use of COVID-19 funds On The Money: Half of states deplete funds for Trump's 0 unemployment expansion | EU appealing ruling in Apple tax case | House Democrats include more aid for airlines in coronavirus package Warren, Khanna request IG investigation into Pentagon's use of coronavirus funds MORE (Mass.), also called for the full report to be released.

“The American public deserves the full report and findings from the Mueller investigation immediately — not just the in-house summary from a Trump Administration official,” Booker tweeted.

In her call for the full report, Warren cited a House measure earlier this month in which lawmakers unanimously voted for the special counsel’s entire report to be made public.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerDemocrats shoot down talk of expanding Supreme Court Schumer: 'Nothing is off the table' if GOP moves forward with Ginsburg replacement Top Democrats call for DOJ watchdog to probe Barr over possible 2020 election influence MORE (D-N.Y.) said his panel would be calling on Barr to testify.

“In light of the very concerning discrepancies and final decision making at the Justice Department following the Special Counsel report, where Mueller did not exonerate the President, we will be calling Attorney General Barr in to testify before House Judiciary in the near future,” he said.

Trump and the White House seized on Barr’s letter summarizing Mueller’s report as a vindication.

“No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!” Trump tweeted.

Mike Lillis contributed.