Pelosi: Barr committed a crime by lying to lawmakers

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi uses Trump to her advantage Fake Pelosi video sparks fears for campaigns Trump goes scorched earth against impeachment talk MORE (D-Calif.) on Thursday said Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrPapadopoulos on AG's new powers: 'Trump is now on the offense' House Democrats must insist that Robert Mueller testifies publicly Why Mueller may be fighting a public hearing on Capitol Hill 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) 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'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 NadlerDemocrats are running out of stunts to pull from impeachment playbook Trump asks if Nadler will look into Clinton's 'deleted and acid washed' emails Trump tweets conservative commentator's criticism of FBI director 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 TrumpPapadopoulos on AG's new powers: 'Trump is now on the offense' Pelosi uses Trump to her advantage Mike Pence delivers West Point commencement 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."