Pelosi: Barr committed a crime by lying to lawmakers

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Breaking down the June jobs report | The biggest threats facing the recovery | What will the next stimulus bill include? Military bases should not be renamed, we must move forward in the spirit of reconciliation Pelosi: Trump 'himself is a hoax' MORE (D-Calif.) on Thursday said Attorney General William BarrBill BarrDemocrat asks Barr to preserve any records tied to environmental hacking probe Justice Dept. considering replacing outgoing US attorney in Brooklyn with Barr deputy: report Ousted Manhattan US Attorney Berman to testify before House next week MORE committed a crime by lying to lawmakers during his testimony on Capitol Hill.

"What is deadly serious about it is the attorney general of the United States of America was not telling the truth to the Congress of the United States. That's a crime," Pelosi said during a press conference in the Capitol.

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The remarks came as Democrats on Capitol Hill are increasingly lashing out at Barr for his handling of 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 on Russia's election interference. Some lawmakers are pressing for Barr to resign, others have floated the idea of impeachment and still others are weighing whether to bring contempt of Congress charges against the attorney general, who refused an invitation to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

Pelosi, for her part, declined to say how — or if — Democrats would challenge Barr's actions, deferring those decisions to the committee heads. But she strongly suggested some response is forthcoming.

Pelosi cited a recent statement from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerNadler wins Democratic primary Voters must strongly reject the president's abuses by voting him out this November Clyburn threatens to end in-person coronavirus committee hearings if Republicans won't wear masks MORE (D-N.Y.), which warned that "Barr's moment of accountability will come soon enough."

"I think that probably applies," Pelosi said. Asked if jail time is appropriate for Barr, she again punted to the committees.

"There's a process that's involved here," she said. "The committee will act upon how we will proceed."

Appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, Barr was grilled by panel Democrats, who accused him of misrepresenting the Mueller team's findings for the political purpose of protecting President TrumpDonald John TrumpProtesters tear down statue of Christopher Columbus in Baltimore 'Independence Day' star Bill Pullman urges Americans to wear a 'freedom mask' in July 4 PSA Protesters burn American flag outside White House after Trump's July Fourth address MORE.

The Democratic criticisms were fueled by revelations that Mueller had written to Barr in March expressing concerns over the nature of the attorney general's four-page summary of Mueller's report, which Barr delivered to Congress earlier that month.

In that letter, which became public just hours before Wednesday's Senate hearing, Mueller said Barr's account "did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office's work and conclusions."

Barr, after receiving the letter, testified to Congress that he was not aware of any reservations from Mueller or his team regarding the attorney general's summary letter.

Pelosi said she "lost sleep" Wednesday night watching replays of Barr's testimony.

"How sad it is for us to see the top law enforcement officer in our country misrepresenting — withholding — the truth from the Congress of the United States," she said.

Asked directly whether Barr committed a crime, Pelosi didn't hesitate.

"He lied to Congress; he lied to Congress. And if anybody else did that, it would be considered a crime," Pelosi said.

"Nobody is above the law; not the president of the United States, and not the attorney general."