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 KingSenate panel approves Interior nominee over objections from Democrats Trump, Europe increasingly at odds on Iran The Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems raise stakes with talk of 'constitutional crisis' MORE (I-Maine), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, on Friday ripped Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrPapadopoulos on AG's new powers: 'Trump is now on the offense' House Democrats must insist that Robert Mueller testifies publicly Why Mueller may be fighting a public hearing on Capitol Hill MORE for declaring President TrumpDonald John TrumpPapadopoulos on AG's new powers: 'Trump is now on the offense' Pelosi uses Trump to her advantage Mike Pence delivers West Point commencement address 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 RosensteinWhy Mueller may be fighting a public hearing on Capitol Hill Jake Tapper fact-checks poster Trump admin created describing Mueller investigation Jeffrey Rosen officially sworn in as deputy attorney general MORE concluded after reviewing special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump orders more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions Trump: Democrats just want Mueller to testify for a 'do-over' Graham: Mueller investigation a 'political rectal exam' 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 PelosiPelosi uses Trump to her advantage Fake Pelosi video sparks fears for campaigns Trump goes scorched earth against impeachment talk MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerNo agreement on budget caps in sight ahead of Memorial Day recess Ex-White House photographer roasts Trump: 'This is what a cover up looked like' under Obama Pelosi: Trump 'is engaged in a cover-up' 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.”