Pelosi, Schumer call on Mueller to testify after 'Barr's regrettably partisan handling' of report

The top Democratic congressional leaders are calling on special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerHouse progressive: Pelosi 'has it right' on impeachment Democrats talk subpoena for Mueller Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna: 'I'm not there yet' on impeachment MORE to testify on Capitol Hill as soon as possible following what they describe as Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrThe Memo: Trump allies see impeachment push backfiring on Democrats Democrats sense new momentum in Trump tax return fight Democrats talk subpoena for Mueller MORE's "partisan" handling of the release of the Mueller report.

House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiTrump rips Dems' demands, impeachment talk: 'Witch Hunt continues!' The Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push The Memo: Trump allies see impeachment push backfiring on Democrats MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSchumer wants investigation into Chinese-designed New York subway cars Getting serious about infrastructure Schumer calls on McConnell to hold vote on Equality Act MORE (D-N.Y.) released a joint statement early Thursday, hours ahead of when a redacted version of Mueller's report is expected to be released and hours after a New York Times report revealed that White House lawyers and Department of Justice officials have already repeatedly discussed details of Mueller's conclusions.

The Democratic leaders laid out a series of actions they say show Barr as being loyal to the president. 

ADVERTISEMENT

“Attorney General Barr’s regrettably partisan handling of the Mueller report, including his slanted March 24th summary letter, his irresponsible testimony before Congress last week, and his indefensible plan to spin the report in a press conference later this morning — hours before he allows the public or Congress to see it — have resulted in a crisis of confidence in his independence and impartiality," Pelosi and Schumer wrote in a statement.

"We believe the only way to begin restoring public trust in the handling of the Special Counsel’s investigation is for Special Counsel Mueller himself to provide public testimony in the House and Senate as soon as possible," they continued.

Democrats' ire over the report's rollout has grown in recent weeks.

They have blasted the president's top law enforcement official for releasing a four-page letter describing the principal findings of the probe, in which Barr said that Mueller determined there was no coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.

The four-page summary has become a particular flashpoint due to Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinDemocrats talk subpoena for Mueller Klobuchar: 'Don't think' there are reasons to investigate Mueller probe's origins Democrats are running out of stunts to pull from impeachment playbook MORE deciding the evidence of the probe did not reach the threshold to charge President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rips Dems' demands, impeachment talk: 'Witch Hunt continues!' Nevada Senate passes bill that would give Electoral College votes to winner of national popular vote The Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push MORE of obstructing justice, even after Mueller declined to decide on the matter either way.

Some Democrats have also expressed concerns about Barr's congressional testimony last week in which he said he believed there was “spying” on the Trump campaign, aligning his word choice with Trump and his conservative allies, who have alleged anti-Trump bias at the FBI and Department of Justice. 

And most recently, Democrats are stewing about Barr's decision to hold a press conference about the report's finding on Thursday morning, more than an hour before Congress is slated to receive the investigative materials.

By stepping into the spotlight and detailing the report's findings before Congress can file through the roughly 400-page report, Democrats say Barr can shape the narrative to favor the president.

Democrats quickly called on Barr to cancel his press conference — something he has given no indication he will do.

Updated at 6:49 a.m.