House Dems ask DC, Virginia bar associations to investigate Barr

Two House Democrats have sent a letter to bar associations in Washington, D.C., and Virginia asking them to open an ethics investigation into Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrFederal prosecutors interviewed multiple FBI officials for Russia probe review: report Mulvaney walks back comments tying Ukraine aid to 2016 probe Mulvaney ties withheld Ukraine aid to political probe sought by Trump MORE.

Democratic Reps. Ted LieuTed W. LieuHere's what to watch this week on impeachment Testimony from GOP diplomat complicates Trump defense Lawmakers, social media users praise photo of Pelosi confronting Trump MORE (Calif.) and Kathleen RiceKathleen Maura RiceMarijuana industry donations to lawmakers surge in 2019: analysis Pelosi backers feel vindicated after tumultuous stretch Democrat offers measure to prevent lawmakers from sleeping in their offices MORE (N.Y.) wrote to the associations on Thursday, a day after Barr's contentious hearing on Capitol Hill during which he defended his handling of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerFox News legal analyst says Trump call with Ukraine leader could be 'more serious' than what Mueller 'dragged up' Lewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Fox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network MORE's report.

ADVERTISEMENT

"By deceiving Congress and the American people, who vested their trust in both the Office of the Attorney General and the Department of Justice at large, Attorney General Barr must be subject to a professional review for the sake of the legal profession and the public," the lawmakers wrote.

Lieu and Rice, who are both former prosecutors, invoked rules that prohibit obstruction of another party’s access to evidence, making a false statement to a tribunal and engaging in dishonesty or misrepresentation that reflect adversely on a lawyer’s fitness to practice law.

The Democrats referenced in their letter to the D.C. and Virginia bar associations the attorney general's handling of the Mueller report. Barr has come under fire from Democrats in recent days after it was revealed that Mueller had written to him expressing concerns that the attorney general's four-page memo to Congress in late March summarizing the probe's principal findings lacked vital context.

In the letter dated March 27, three days after Barr sent a summary of the report to Congress, Mueller accused the attorney general of creating "public confusion about critical aspects of the results."

Lawmakers grilled Barr over the letter during his appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. The attorney general defended his handling of the report, including his decision to not pursue an obstruction of justice charge against the president.

The Hill has reached out to the Justice Department and both bar associations for comment.