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 KingAl Franken says he 'absolutely' regrets resigning Poll: McConnell is most unpopular senator Senate panel advances Pentagon chief, Joint Chiefs chairman nominees MORE (I-Maine), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, on Friday ripped Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrUkrainian officials and Giuliani are sharing back-channel campaign information: report Will Democrats be up to the task of publicly interviewing Mueller? A question for Robert Mueller MORE for declaring President TrumpDonald John TrumpChelsea Clinton announces birth of third child Ukrainian officials and Giuliani are sharing back-channel campaign information: report Trump attacks 'the Squad' as 'racist group of troublemakers' 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 RosensteinKey numbers to know for Mueller's testimony 10 questions for Robert Mueller What to expect when Mueller testifies: Not much MORE concluded after reviewing special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerThis week: Mueller dominates chaotic week on Capitol Hill Top Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction 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, Mnuchin reach 'near-final agreement' on budget, debt ceiling Wendy Davis launches bid for Congress in Texas Steyer calls on Pelosi to cancel 'six-week vacation' for Congress MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump says he will meet with Schumer 'ASAP' after border visit Dem senator describes 'overcrowded quarters,' 'harsh odor' at border facilities Top Democrats demand security assessment of Trump properties 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.”