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 SchiffDemocrats sharpen their message on impeachment White House struggles to get in sync on impeachment Hillicon Valley: Microsoft pushes for DACA fix ahead of court hearing | Twitter seeks feedback on 'deepfakes' | Trump officials unveil plan to notify public of 2020 interference MORE (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, called on Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrGiuliani considers launching impeachment podcast The Hill's Morning Report - Impeachment drama will dominate this week Impeachment tests Barr-Trump relationship MORE to resign Wednesday after it was reported that special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSpeier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump Gowdy: I '100 percent' still believe public congressional hearings are 'a circus' Comey: Mueller 'didn't succeed in his mission because there was inadequate transparency' 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 HollenOn The Money: Retirement savings bill blocked in Senate after fight over amendments | Stopgap bill may set up December spending fight | Hardwood industry pleads for relief from Trump trade war GAO reviewing Trump hold on Ukraine military aid Democrats unveil proposal for 'millionaires surtax' 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 NadlerHouse to vote on bill to ensure citizenship for children of overseas service members As impeachment goes public, forget 'conventional wisdom' What this 'impeachment' is really about — and it's not the Constitution 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.