Durbin: Barr has 'virtually disqualified himself' to 'make sure that justice is served'

Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDemocrats ramp up warnings on Russian election meddling The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Negotiators signal relief bill stuck, not dead White House officials, Democrats spar over legality, substance of executive orders MORE (Ill.), the second-highest ranking Senate Democrat, slammed Attorney General William BarrBill BarrHow would a Biden Justice Department be different? Joe Biden played it safe Kamala Harris: The right choice at the right time MORE on Wednesday following reports that 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 found Barr’s summary of his nearly two-year investigation misleading.

Durbin, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee that is hearing testimony from Barr on Wednesday, expressed concerns about remaining criminal referrals from Mueller’s probe into Russia's election interference and obstruction of justice, which are under the Justice Department’s purview.

“I’m gravely concerned that the 14 remaining criminal referrals for criminal investigation related to this same matter are really under the supervision and control of Attorney General Barr. He has virtually disqualified himself to be the kind of person that we expect to stand back and make sure that justice is served when it comes to these 14 referrals,” Durbin said on CNN.

Reports first emerged late Tuesday, on the eve of Barr's testimony before the Judiciary Committee, revealing that Mueller was frustrated with Barr in late March over the four-page summary the attorney general sent to Congress about the special counsel probe.


“The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office’s work and conclusions,” Mueller wrote in the letter on March 27.

“There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation. This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations.”

Mueller also urged the attorney general to publicize summaries that the special counsel's team had already prepared.

Barr told Congress at a later hearing that he was unaware of any concerns from Mueller’s team regarding his statements about the investigation’s handing. 

“He knew sitting there, he received a letter from Bob Mueller saying that, his letter of March 24 to the American people failed to provide the context and the substance of the report that Mueller worked on for two years,” Durbin said, though he would not go as far as to say that Barr had perjured himself.