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Barr backtracks on question about president accepting foreign assistance in election

Attorney General William BarrBill BarrNew DOJ rule could allow executions by electrocution, firing squad Clyburn: Biden falling short on naming Black figures to top posts Five federal inmates scheduled for execution before Inauguration Day 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 Nicola CicillineDemocrats were united on top issues this Congress — but will it hold? House Democrats pick Aguilar as No. 6 leader in next Congress Nominated for another Speaker term, Pelosi says it's her last 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) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout 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 John TrumpGeraldo Rivera on Trump sowing election result doubts: 'Enough is enough now' Murkowski: Trump should concede White House race Scott Atlas resigns as coronavirus adviser to Trump 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 StoneFlynn spurs questions of who Trump might pardon next OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Trump pardons Flynn | Lawmakers lash out at decision | Pentagon nixes Thanksgiving dining hall meals due to COVID-19 Democratic impeachment leaders blast Trump's pardon of Flynn MORE and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.