Justice Department slams Pelosi for 'baseless attack' against Barr

The Justice Department on Thursday issued a rebuke of Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiObjections to Trump's new immigration rule wildly exaggerated Latest pro-democracy rally draws tens of thousands in Hong Kong Lewandowski on potential NH Senate run: If I run, 'I'm going to win' MORE (D-Calif.) for engaging in what it called a “baseless attack” against Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrAttorney General Barr's license to kill Medical examiner confirms Epstein death by suicide Justice Dept. says Mueller report has been downloaded 800 million times 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 MuellerTrump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony Kellyanne Conway: 'I'd like to know' if Mueller read his own report 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 TrumpO'Rourke: Trump driving global, U.S. economy into recession Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms Objections to Trump's new immigration rule wildly exaggerated MORE obstructed justice.

Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinWhy the presumption of innocence doesn't apply to Trump McCabe sues FBI, DOJ, blames Trump for his firing Rosenstein: Trump should focus on preventing people from 'becoming violent white supremacists' 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 CristPelosi says she'll no longer address anything Barr says GOP scores procedural win by securing more funding to enforce Iran sanctions Biz groups target Florida voters ahead of Democratic debates in Miami 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.