Angus King: 'Mueller passed the obstruction question to the Congress and Barr intercepted the pass'

Angus King: 'Mueller passed the obstruction question to the Congress and Barr intercepted the pass'
© Greg Nash

Sen. Angus KingAngus Stanley KingSenators fear Syria damage 'irreversible' after Esper, Milley briefing Overnight Defense: Dems grill Trump Army, Air Force picks | House chair subpoenas Trump Afghanistan negotiator | Trump officials release military aid to Ukraine Democrats grill Army, Air Force nominees on military funding for border wall MORE (I-Maine), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, on Friday ripped Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrFederal prosecutors interviewed multiple FBI officials for Russia probe review: report Mulvaney walks back comments tying Ukraine aid to 2016 probe Mulvaney ties withheld Ukraine aid to political probe sought by Trump MORE for declaring President TrumpDonald John TrumpZuckerberg launches public defense of Facebook as attacks mount Trump leaning toward keeping a couple hundred troops in eastern Syria: report Warren says making Israel aid conditional on settlement building is 'on the table' MORE did not obstruct justice with regard to investigations into possible Russian collusion in 2016.

“Mueller passed the obstruction question to the Congress and Barr intercepted the pass and tried to take it over himself,” King said in an appearance on CNN’s “New Day.”

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Barr said in a letter to Congress last month that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinTrump attacks Sessions: A 'total disaster' and 'an embarrassment to the great state of Alabama' Mueller rejoins DC law firm Lewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it MORE concluded after reviewing special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerFox News legal analyst says Trump call with Ukraine leader could be 'more serious' than what Mueller 'dragged up' Lewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Fox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network MORE’s evidence that there was not enough evidence to charge Trump with obstruction.

Mueller’s report, however, neither exonerated nor implicated the president regarding obstruction of justice, instead punting the ultimate decision to Congress.

Democrats have seized on Barr’s determination, saying it was preemptive and suggesting he was seeking to defend the president.

"Special Counsel Mueller's report paints a disturbing picture of a president who has been weaving a web of deceit, lies and improper behavior and acting as if the law doesn't apply to him. But if you hadn't read the report and listened only to Mr. Barr, you wouldn't have known any of that because Mr. Barr has been so misleading," Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTurkey sanctions face possible wall in GOP Senate Trump lashes out at Pelosi as she visits Jordan to discuss Syria Thomas D'Alesandro III, brother of Nancy Pelosi, dies at 90 MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTurkey says soldier killed despite cease-fire in Syria Schumer calls for FDA to probe reports of contaminated baby food How Trump and Pelosi went from bad to worse MORE (N.Y.) said in a joint statement Thursday. 

King said Barr’s statements on obstruction of justice could hurt his credibility in front of Congress when he testifies next month.

“He went out of his way to try to give the president what he wanted to hear, and then the report comes out and it doesn’t say what he said,” King said. “I think what he’s hurt is his own credibility with the Congress, I don’t think there’s any action Congress needs to take. I think the next time he appears before a committee and makes these kinds of declarative statements, he’s going to have a credibility problem.”