Barr backtracks on question about president accepting foreign assistance in election

Attorney General William BarrBill BarrJan. 6 committee chair says panel spoke to William Barr William Barr's memoir set for release in early March The enemy within: Now every day is Jan. 6 MORE changed course and stated that it is not appropriate for a presidential candidate to accept foreign assistance after he initially responded to a question from a Democratic congressman stating it “depends” on the assistance. 

Rep. David CicillineDavid CicillineDemocrats eager to fill power vacuum after Pelosi exit In their own words: Lawmakers, staffers remember Jan. 6 insurrection Lawmakers call for investigation into proposed AT&T WarnerMedia, Discovery merger MORE (D-R.I.) asked Barr during a Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday if it is ever appropriate for a president to solicit or accept foreign assistance in an election. 

“It depends what kind of assistance,” Barr responded. 

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“Is it ever appropriate for the president or presidential candidate to accept or solicit foreign assistance of any kind in his or her election?” Cicilline pressed. 

“No, it’s not appropriate,” Barr responded. 

“OK, sorry you had to struggle with that one,” the congressman replied. 

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Cicilline also slammed Barr for “mischaracterizing” former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerAn unquestioning press promotes Rep. Adam Schiff's book based on Russia fiction Senate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG MORE’s findings on Russian interference in the 2016 election before Barr released the full report. 

The congressman also said Barr delayed the release of the full report, “leaving the American people stewing with your misleading summary in support of President TrumpDonald TrumpHeadaches intensify for Democrats in Florida Stormy Daniels set to testify against former lawyer Avenatti in fraud trial Cheney challenger wins Wyoming Republican activists' straw poll MORE's bogus claims of ‘no collusion, no corruption.' ”

The attorney general defended himself throughout the hearing against Democratic accusations trying to paint him as a Trump loyalist, including over his handling of high-profile cases involving Trump’s friends, Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneOath Keeper charges renew attention on Trump orbit Democrats differ over how Biden should handle Jan. 6 anniversary Alex Jones suing Pelosi and Jan. 6 panel, planning to plead the Fifth MORE and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.