McCarthy says Nadler lied, not Barr

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions Cheney's decision not to run for Senate sparks Speaker chatter Mark Mellman: A failure of GOP leadership MORE (R-Calif.) on Thursday rejected Democrats’ assertion that Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrLawmaker wants Chinese news outlet to register as foreign agent The Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions Barr wrote 2018 memo contradicting Trump's claim that abuse of power is not impeachable MORE had lied to Congress last month and committed a crime.

Instead, McCarthy accused House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerNadler gets under GOP's skin Restlessness, light rule-breaking and milk spotted on Senate floor as impeachment trial rolls on Republicans take aim at Nadler for saying GOP senators complicit in 'cover-up' 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 TrumpMnuchin knocks Greta Thunberg's activism: Study economics and then 'come back' to us The Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' What to watch for on Day 3 of Senate impeachment trial 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 PelosiSekulow indicates White House not interested in motion to dismiss impeachment articles Overnight Health Care: Trump restores funding for Texas program that bars Planned Parenthood | Trump to attend March for Life | PhRMA spent record on 2019 lobbying Key House committee chairman to meet with Mnuchin on infrastructure next week 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 MuellerSchiff: Trump acquittal in Senate trial would not signal a 'failure' Jeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay 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.