Barr backtracks on question about president accepting foreign assistance in election

Attorney General William BarrBill BarrHillicon Valley: 'Fortnite' owner sues Apple after game is removed from App Store | Federal agencies seize, dismantle cryptocurrency campaigns of major terrorist organizations Federal agencies seize, dismantle cryptocurrency campaigns of major terrorist organizations How would a Biden Justice Department be different? 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 CicillineNew report finds majority of Americans support merger moratorium Five takeaways from Big Tech's blowout earnings What factors will shape Big Tech regulation? 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 TrumpUSPS warns Pennsylvania mail-in ballots may not be delivered in time to be counted Michael Cohen book accuses Trump of corruption, fraud Trump requests mail-in ballot for Florida congressional primary 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 StoneHow would a Biden Justice Department be different? Matt Gaetz, Roger Stone back far-right activist Laura Loomer in congressional bid Barr: The left 'believes in tearing down the system' MORE and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.