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Schiff calls for Barr to step down over 'misleading' public

Schiff calls for Barr to step down over 'misleading' public
© Greg Nash

Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffEx-DOJ official Rosenstein says he was not aware of subpoena targeting Democrats: report Nixon's former White House counsel: Trump DOJ was 'Nixon on stilts and steroids' Trump DOJ demanded metadata on 73 phone numbers and 36 email addresses, Apple says MORE (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, called on Attorney General William BarrBill BarrEx-DOJ official Rosenstein says he was not aware of subpoena targeting Democrats: report Garland sparks anger with willingness to side with Trump Trump DOJ demanded metadata on 73 phone numbers and 36 email addresses, Apple says MORE to resign Wednesday after it was reported that special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE found Barr’s summary of his two-year probe misleading.

“I think his statement is deliberately false and misleading, and yes, most people would consider that to be a lie,” Schiff said on "CBS This Morning." “Look, there’s no sugar-coating this, I think he should step down. It’s hard, I think, for the country to have confidence in the top law enforcement official in the country if he’s asked a direct question as he was and he gives a directly false answer, so this is serious business.”

“After two years and work and investigation implicating the president of the United States, for the attorney general to mislead the public for an entire month before releasing that report is inexcusable.” 

Schiff is the highest-ranking Democrat on Capitol Hill so far to call for Barr to step down. He follows Sen. Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenDemocrats reintroduce bill to create 'millionaires surtax' Bass, Van Hollen to reintroduce bill to reform handling of nonviolent 911 calls Democrats to introduce bill to prevent default recurring political donations MORE's (D-Md.) call for Barr to resign.

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A Justice Department spokesperson confirmed to The Hill Tuesday that Mueller expressed “frustration” with Barr in late March over a four-page summary the attorney general sent to Congress regarding the special counsel’s investigation into Russia's election interference and obstruction of justice.

“The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office’s work and conclusions,” Mueller wrote in the letter on March 27, according to The Washington Post. “There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation. This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations.”

Mueller also reportedly urged Barr to release summaries that the special counsel team had already prepared.

The Justice Department spokesperson described the conversation between Barr and Mueller as “cordial and professional” and said that after discussing “whether additional context from the report would be helpful and could be quickly released,” Barr “ultimately determined that it would not be productive to release the report in piecemeal fashion.”

Tuesday’s revelation upped the ante for Barr’s appearance Wednesday morning in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee and led to a cavalcade of criticism from House and Senate Democrats. 

“The Special Counsel’s concerns reflect our own. The Attorney General should not have taken it upon himself to describe the Special Counsel’s findings in a light more favorable to the President. It was only a matter of time before the facts caught up to him,” Rep. Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerIowa man sentenced for threatening Rep. Jerry Nadler Supreme Court confounding its partisan critics Garland sparks anger with willingness to side with Trump MORE (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said in a statement Tuesday, demanding that Barr hand over Mueller’s letter to Congress by 10 a.m. on Wednesday.