Hoyer suggests Barr lied to Congress, wants explanation

 
"We need to find out ... Barr's explanation for what clearly appears to be, on its face, an untrue statement that Barr either knew, or certainly should have known, was not true," Hoyer said during a press briefing in the Capitol. "If it's not a truthful statement ... [that's a] very serious thing for the chief law enforcement officer in the country to mislead the Congress about a very salient, key fact."
 
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Appearing before Congress in April, Barr told lawmakers he was not aware of any reservations from special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump orders more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions Trump: Democrats just want Mueller to testify for a 'do-over' Graham: Mueller investigation a 'political rectal exam' MORE or his investigative team concerning the attorney general's four-page summary of the report, which Barr delivered to Congress in March.
 
A letter from Mueller to Barr written weeks earlier, however, indicated the special counsel had pressing concerns about the nature of Barr's summary. In that letter, which became public Wednesday morning, Mueller said Barr's account "did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office's work and conclusions."
 
Democrats have pounced on Mueller's letter, accusing Barr of misleading Congress and the public about the special counsel's findings for the sole purpose of protecting President TrumpDonald John TrumpA better VA, with mental health services, is essential for America's veterans Pelosi, Nadler tangle on impeachment, contempt vote Trump arrives in Japan to kick off 4-day state visit MORE.
 
"I think his statement is deliberately false and misleading and, yes, most people would consider that to be a lie," Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffFive takeaways from Barr's new powers in 'spying' probe Trump declassification move unnerves Democrats Trump appeals order siding with House Democrats bank subpoenas MORE (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Wednesday in an interview with "CBS This Morning."
 
"He's a very smart man, he knew exactly what he was being asked by Congress and he knew his answer was false," Schiff added.
 
Hoyer piled on a short time later, saying it defies belief that Barr would not have read a letter from Mueller addressed directly to the attorney general.
 
"I cannot believe that he didn't read this letter," Hoyer said. "This is not a staff-level letter. This is something that was very serious."
 
Hoyer, though, stopped short of calling for Barr to resign, as some liberals are urging, saying the first step in determining Democrats' response is for the House Judiciary Committee to hear directly from the attorney general.
 
"The first effort ought to have Barr explain the discrepancy," Hoyer said. "That's the first step."
 
Even as Hoyer was addressing reporters, Barr was testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he told lawmakers that Mueller's concerns were not with the four-page summary letter, but with the media's portrayal of it. 
 
"He was very clear with me that he was not suggesting that we had misrepresented his report,” Barr said.
  
Barr is scheduled to appear before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, although his participation is in doubt as the parties fight over the parameters of his testimony.