McCarthy says Nadler lied, not Barr

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyThe Congressional Award — a beacon of hope  The case for congressional pay raises McConnell defends Trump amid backlash: 'He gets picked at every day' MORE (R-Calif.) on Thursday rejected Democrats’ assertion that Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrForeign interference is a threat to the 2020 elections — presidential interference is, too Foreign interference is a threat to the 2020 elections — presidential interference is, too America's crisis of compassion is a Constitutional crisis, too MORE had lied to Congress last month and committed a crime.

Instead, McCarthy accused House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerFrom abortion to obstruction, politicians' hypocrisy is showing Watergate figure John Dean earns laughter for responses to GOP lawmakers The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by MAPRx - Nadler gets breakthrough deal with DOJ on Mueller docs MORE (D-N.Y.) of being a liar.

“I do not believe Attorney General Barr lied; I believe he’s been very transparent in all of this,” McCarthy told reporters Thursday afternoon. “I think if people are looking at who has lied in the process, simply look at Chairman Nadler.”

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The combative remarks from McCarthy, a close ally of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says 'Failing New York Times' should be held 'fully accountable' over Russia report Trump says 'Failing New York Times' should be held 'fully accountable' over Russia report Trump tweets ICE will begin removing 'millions' of undocumented migrants MORE, came after Nadler staged a Judiciary Committee hearing with an empty chair. Barr backed out of the hearing after objecting to Democrats’ demand that staff attorneys be allowed to question Barr in addition to lawmakers.

“Chairman Nadler asked the attorney general to come and he said yes. After the attorney general said he would come to the committee, to speak to every member, they moved to change the rules,” McCarthy said. “The only time an individual, a staffer questioned somebody was during Watergate. Nadler has been wanting to impeach the day after the election.”

A Nadler spokesman did not immediately provide a comment.

Earlier Thursday, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiCalifornia Democrat in swing district calls for Trump impeachment inquiry California Democrat in swing district calls for Trump impeachment inquiry Overnight Defense: US to send 1K more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions | Iran threatens to break limit on uranium production in 10 days | US accuses Iran of 'nuclear blackmail' | Details on key defense bill amendments MORE (D-Calif.) accused Barr of committing a crime when he testified before House lawmakers in April that he wasn’t aware of any concerns from special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerKamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE about the attorney general’s four-page summary of the report on Russian interference.

In fact, Mueller had written a letter to Barr nearly two weeks earlier expressing concerns about the attorney general’s summary.

“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 told reporters Thursday.

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

Many Democrats are now calling on Barr to resign or be impeached by the House. They also want to hear directly from Mueller and have invited him to testify before the Judiciary Committee on his 448-page report examining Russian interference, conspiracy and obstruction of justice by the president.

McCarthy, however, said he had read the massive report and did not think it was necessary for Mueller to appear before Congress.

“I don’t need to” hear from Mueller, McCarthy said.