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 Trump2020 Democrats spar over socialism ahead of first debate Senate passes .5 billion border bill, setting up fight with House 'Teflon Don' avoids the scorn of the 'family values' GOP — again MORE in the Russia investigation, arguing that special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTop Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump 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 RosensteinMueller to testify publicly on July 17 Trump: Appointing Sessions was my biggest mistake Trump blasts Mueller, decries 'witch hunt' at 2020 launch 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 PascrellDemocrats struggle with repeal of key Trump tax provision Congressional scorekeeper: Repealing SALT deduction cap would benefit high earners Democrats not keen to reignite Jerusalem embassy fight 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 BookerBooker calls for hearings on reports of ICE using solitary confinement Poll: Biden leads Democratic field by 6 points, Warren in second place The Hill's 12:30 Report: Anticipation high ahead of first debate MORE (N.J.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandWarren visits migrant care shelter, says children being marched 'like little prisoners' Where 2020 Democrats stand in betting markets ahead of first debate GOP lays debate trap for 2020 Democrats MORE (N.Y.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisPoll: Biden leads Democratic field by 6 points, Warren in second place 2020 Dems say they will visit Homestead facility holding migrant children Warren visits migrant care shelter, says children being marched 'like little prisoners' MORE (Calif.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenDon't expect Trump-sized ratings for Democratic debates Poll: Biden leads Democratic field by 6 points, Warren in second place Senate Health Committee advances bipartisan package to lower health costs 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 NadlerNadler apologized after repeatedly calling Hope Hicks 'Ms. Lewandowski' at hearing Hope Hicks: Trump campaign felt 'relief' after WikiLeaks released damaging info about Hillary Clinton House hearing marks historic moment for slavery reparations debate 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.