‘The Attorney General’s mischaracterizations of the redacted report’s findings have raised more questions than they have answered…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) Under the pretense of following up on Attorney General William Barr‘s testimony last week before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., sent a letter to special counsel Robert Mueller requesting the release of any information he may have on President Donald Trump’s taxes.
“Unfortunately, Chairman Graham has made clear that he does not intend to call you to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee,” Klobuchar said in her letter to Mueller. “Accordingly, I respectfully request that you provide answers.”
Committee chair Lindsey Graham, R-SC, said that Mueller could “provide testimony” if he disputed any of Barr’s answers, but he dismissed the possibility of a public hearing, which would doubtlessly degenerate into a grandstanding media spectacle.
Klobuchar’s May 2 appeal to Mueller asked for any of the president’s tax returns he had obtained, as well as any financial documents related to the Trump Organization.
Mnuchin this week formally declined the request after determining that the congressional committees making it had no valid legislative interest in the tax documents.
In response to the baseless demand and the ensuing attack on Barr, the White House announced that it would assert executive privilege.
Trump previously declared his intention to fight all partisan, politically motivated subpoenas generated by the House over the Russia collusion hoax.
Compared with the sniping of many of her Democratic colleagues, Klobuchar’s interrogation of Barr last week seemed to strike a more conciliatory tone.
However, her letter to Mueller suggested the 2020 presidential hopeful was not above attempts at scoring partisan political points.
“The Attorney General’s mischaracterizations of the redacted report’s findings have raised more questions than they have answered,” Klobuchar said in an accompanying press release.
“The American people deserve a Justice Department that is committed to the impartial administration of justice and I will continue to press for answers on their behalf.”
Klobuchar also submitted a follow-up list of 12 questions to Barr, asking him to confirm “for the record” the characterizations of several points he had made before the Senate committee.
In it, she belabored already stale Democratic talking points and attack strategies—including the claim that it is possible to obstruct justice when no underlying criminal activity was proven.
Mueller, in his report, had pointedly deferred to the attorney general’s office to make the charging decision on obstruction, even though it was within the scope of his duties to do so.
In determining not to pursue the charge, Barr said such cases often are left to the discretion of the prosecutor because they are difficult to establish, following the legal standard, beyond a reasonable doubt.
But, in her letter to Barr, Klobuchar requested the specific “contexts” in which past prosecutors had declined to pursue the charges.
Klobuchar also continued to harp on the unfounded accusation that Barr lied during an earlier appearance before Congress by saying he could not surmise the reasons Mueller’s office might object to his four-page release of the report findings.
“Given the Special Counsel’s concerns, do you have any regrets about the way you handled the release of the report?” she asked.
In response to a question by Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., Barr had properly speculated in his April congressional appearance that Mueller and his team wanted the release to be more comprehensive.
Barr maintained that his focus was on releasing the full report as quickly as possible rather than providing summaries that the media might mischaracterize.
But the night before Barr’s Senate testimony, The Washington Post broke a story leaking a letter that Mueller had submitted to Barr, which Democrats used to form their dubious accusations of perjury.
Barr noted that in speaking to Mueller personally, the special counsel had not taken issue with the substance of his release but that he did not know the minds of unnamed members of Mueller’s team.
Despite the vagueness of Crist’s question, Barr countered that he had answered it fully and accurately based on the wording.
Thus far, Klobuchar’s presidential campaign has failed to get significant traction. Although she has sought to position herself as a moderate in some instances with a willingness to reach across the aisles, her legislative record tells a different story.
Still, Klobuchar did express a willingness to work with her Republican colleagues and with the Justice Department on efforts to strengthen cybersecurity and prevent election interference from Russia and other hostile foreign agents.
During the hearing, she called on Barr’s support for the Secure Elections Act, which would include additional audits and a provision for back-up paper ballots.
“Otherwise, we are not going to have any clout to get back-up paper ballots if something goes wrong in this election,” she said.