McCarthy says Nadler lied, not Barr

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyOmar says US should reconsider aid to Israel I'm not a Nazi, I'm just a dude: What it's like to be the other Steve King Trump finds consistent foil in 'Squad' MORE (R-Calif.) on Thursday rejected Democrats’ assertion that Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrProsecutors are mainly to blame for the criminal justice crisis The Hill's Morning Report - Trump hews to NRA on guns and eyes lower taxes 10 declassified Russia collusion revelations that could rock Washington this fall MORE had lied to Congress last month and committed a crime.

Instead, McCarthy accused House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerSecond Democrat representing Trump district backs impeachment GOP memo deflects some gun questions to 'violence from the left' House Democrats urge Trump to end deportations of Iraqis after diabetic man's death 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.”

ADVERTISEMENT

The combative remarks from McCarthy, a close ally of President TrumpDonald John Trump Former US ambassador: 'Denmark is not a big fan of Donald Trump and his politics' Senate Democrats push for arms control language in defense policy bill Detroit county sheriff endorses Booker for president 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 PelosiGOP group calls on Republican senators to stand up to McConnell on election security in new ads The Hill's Morning Report - Trump hews to NRA on guns and eyes lower taxes Hobbled NRA shows strength with Trump 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 MuellerMueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony 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.