Justice Department slams Pelosi for 'baseless attack' against Barr

The Justice Department on Thursday issued a rebuke of Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiUSMCA is nice but no model Anti-impeachment Democrat poised to switch parties Grassley urges White House to help farmers in year-end tax talks MORE (D-Calif.) for engaging in what it called a “baseless attack” against Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrJudge rejects DOJ effort to delay House lawsuit against Barr, Ross Holder rips into William Barr: 'He is unfit to lead the Justice Department' Five takeaways on Horowitz's testimony on Capitol Hill MORE after she claimed he committed a crime by lying to Congress.

“Speaker Pelosi’s baseless attack on the Attorney General is reckless, irresponsible, and false,” Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said in a statement. 

Earlier Thursday, Pelosi said in a press conference that Barr lied to Congress during April testimony on Capitol Hill.

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"What is deadly serious about it is the attorney general of the United States of America was not telling the truth to the Congress of the United States. That's a crime," Pelosi told reporters.

Pelosi’s remarks came a day after Barr delivered explosive testimony before the Senate during which he was repeatedly grilled on a March 27 letter in which special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerJeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay Trump says he'll release financial records before election, knocks Dems' efforts MORE objected to the attorney general’s four-page memo describing his investigation’s conclusions.

Pelosi appeared to be referencing Barr’s earlier congressional testimony during which he indicated he was unaware of concerns from members of the special counsel’s team about his handling of Mueller’s report. 

Barr wrote in his memo on March 24 that Mueller did not establish that members of the Trump campaign coordinated or conspired with the Russian government to interfere in the election, and that the special counsel did not come to a conclusion one way or another on whether President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans aim to avoid war with White House over impeachment strategy New York Times editorial board calls for Trump's impeachment Trump rips Michigan Rep. Dingell after Fox News appearance: 'Really pathetic!' MORE obstructed justice.

Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinRosenstein, Sessions discussed firing Comey in late 2016 or early 2017: FBI notes Justice Dept releases another round of summaries from Mueller probe Judge rules former WH counsel McGahn must testify under subpoena MORE decided that the investigation laid out in the report was insufficient to accuse Trump of criminal wrongdoing.

On April 9, Barr was asked by Rep. Charlie CristCharles (Charlie) Joseph CristRepublicans disavow GOP candidate who said 'we should hang' Omar The Hill's Morning Report — Trump's new controversy Florida Rep. Charlie Crist endorses Biden MORE (D-Fla.) about reports that members of Mueller’s team were dissatisfied with his account of the investigation’s findings and believed they did not capture the gravity of the details on obstruction.

Barr said he didn’t know what they were referencing.

“I suspect that they probably wanted more put out, but in my view, I was not interested in putting out summaries or trying to summarize,” Barr said.

The letter first reported by The Washington Post on the eve of Barr’s Wednesday testimony showed that Mueller in late March complained that Barr’s memo “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this Office's work and conclusions” and created “public confusion” about the results.

Barr told lawmakers Wednesday that he called Mueller thereafter to discuss his complaints. He said Mueller said his letter did not mischaracterize the findings but expressed concerns about the resulting press coverage and asked Barr to release more from the report to provide more context.

Barr eventually decided against doing so, releasing a redacted version of Mueller’s full 448-page report three weeks later on April 18.