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 TrumpMinneapolis erupts for third night, as protests spread, Trump vows retaliation Stocks open mixed ahead of Trump briefing on China The island that can save America 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 RosensteinGOP chairman to seek subpoena power in investigation of Russia probe, 'unmasking' requests Rosenstein to testify as part of Graham's Russia investigation probe Senate Republicans issue first subpoena in Biden-Burisma probe 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 PascrellMultiple N.J. homes for veterans see dozens of coronavirus-related deaths Washington Post fact-checks Kimmel on edited Pence video: 'Certainly a phony tale' NY, NJ lawmakers call for more aid to help fight coronavirus 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 BookerSenate Dems press DOJ over coronavirus safety precautions in juvenile detention centers Senators ask DeVos to adjust FAFSA form due to the coronavirus pandemic Stakes high for Collins in coronavirus relief standoff MORE (N.J.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandSenate Dems press DOJ over coronavirus safety precautions in juvenile detention centers Senate Democrat introduces bill to protect food supply It's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process MORE (N.Y.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisMinneapolis erupts for third night, as protests spread, Trump vows retaliation The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - George Floyd's death sparks protests, National Guard activation Police killing in Minneapolis puts new scrutiny on Biden pick MORE (Calif.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenCOVID-19 workplace complaints surge; unions rip administration Gloves come off as Democrats fight for House seat in California Police killing in Minneapolis puts new scrutiny on Biden pick 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 NadlerHouse Democrats call on DOJ to investigate recent killings of unarmed black people  Gun control group rolls out House endorsements The House impeachment inquiry loses another round — and yes, that's still going on 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.