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) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE to testify on Capitol Hill as soon as possible following what they describe as Attorney General William BarrBill BarrTrump called acting attorney general almost daily to push election voter fraud claim: report Highest-ranking GOP assemblyman in WI against another audit of 2020 vote Native Americans are targets of voter suppression too MORE's "partisan" handling of the release of the Mueller report.

House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Health Care: Average daily COVID infections topped last summer's peak, CDC says | US reaches 70 percent vaccination goal a month after Biden's target | White House says CDC can't renew eviction ban Biden, Pelosi struggle with end of eviction ban Co-workers called FBI after alleged Capitol Hill rioter bragged about Jan. 6, officials say MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerPoll: Majority of voters say more police are needed amid rise in crime America's middle class is getting hooked on government cash — and Democrats aren't done yet The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate finalizes .2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill 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. 

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“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 RosensteinWashington still needs more transparency House Judiciary to probe DOJ's seizure of data from lawmakers, journalists The Hill's Morning Report - Biden-Putin meeting to dominate the week MORE deciding the evidence of the probe did not reach the threshold to charge President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden administration to keep Trump-era rule of turning away migrants during pandemic On The Money: Biden, Pelosi struggle with end of eviction ban | Trump attorney says he will fight release of tax returns Lack of transatlantic cooperation on trade threatens global climate change goals 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.