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Barr on Trump asking aide to change account to Mueller: 'That's not a crime'

Attorney General William BarrBill BarrBoehner: Trump 'stepped all over their loyalty' by lying to followers Dominion: Ex-Michigan state senator 'sowing discord in our democracy' with election fraud claims Hunter Biden says he doesn't know if Delaware laptop was his MORE on Wednesday asserted that it's "not a crime" for President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to move ahead with billion UAE weapons sale approved by Trump Fox News hires high-profile defense team in Dominion defamation lawsuit Associate indicted in Gaetz scandal cooperating with DOJ: report MORE to ask an aide to lie for him, and argued there is a difference between asking someone to fire special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerWhy a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump MORE versus having him removed based on a conflict of interest.

At a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, ranking member Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinBiden's gun control push poses danger for midterms Caitlyn Jenner exploring bid for California governor: report WokeWorld comes for 'oppressor' Obama: Activists rip school being named after 'deporter in chief' MORE (D-Calif.) questioned Barr over whether Trump obstructed justice. 

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"You still have a situation where a president essentially tries to change the lawyer's account in order to prevent further criticism of himself," Feinstein said, referencing an episode detailed in Mueller's report involving former White House counsel Don McGahn.

"Well that’s not a crime," Barr responded.

"So you can, in this situation, instruct someone to lie?" Feinstein asked. 

Barr argued that Trump would have to be "impairing the evidence in a particular proceeding" for it to amount to obstruction of justice and suggested McGahn had taken note of Trump's requests to remove the special counsel to memorialize that the president was not explicitly asking for Mueller to be "fired." 

"There is a distinction between saying to someone 'go fire him, go fire Mueller,' and saying 'have him removed based on conflict,' " Barr said. "They have different results."

The latter request, he asserted, would lead to another special counsel being appointed.

Democrats have grilled Barr on Wednesday over his conclusion that Mueller's findings were not sufficient to charge Trump with obstruction of justice after the special counsel neither exonerated nor implicated the president on the matter.

The special counsel detailed 10 episodes in his full report that investigators reviewed for potential obstruction involving the president. Among the incidents detailed were Trump's efforts to remove the special counsel, and his efforts to have McGahn deny the president had ordered him to have the special counsel removed.