Barr to testify before the Senate as Mueller's report looms

Donald Trump says he has not read 'total waste of time' Mueller report

Barr's reference to "spying" may refer to a secret surveillance warrant that the Federal Bureau of Investigation obtained in the fall of 2016 to monitor the communications of former Trump campaign aide Carter Page, who has not been charged with any wrongdoing and has denied being a Russian spy. While Mueller and his team did not reach a conclusion on whether Trump obstructed justice, and reportedly laid out evidence on both sides of the question, Barr said in his summary that there is not enough evidence to establish the president obstructed justice - a conclusion some lawmakers felt was premature without the full report in hand.

"As I say, it's hard to have that discussion without the contents of the report, isn't it?" he said.

Barr, appearing before a Senate panel, did not say what "spying" had taken place but seemed likely to be alluding to a surveillance warrant the Federal Bureau of Investigation obtained on a Trump associate.

Republicans have called for a careful review as to whether the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in violation of Page's constitutional rights and Federal Bureau of Investigation procedures, misled the FISA court or withheld exculpatory information, and Barr testified that a DOJ review of the FBI's FISA practices was in progress.

Barr released a four-page letter summarizing the report two days later and said he would release a redacted version of the full report by mid-April, "if not sooner".

Facing the intensifying concerns from Democrats that he may have whitewashed Mueller's findings, Barr has twice moved to defend, or at least explain, his handling of the process since receiving the special counsel's report.

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Some good news, other than Barr's stellar performance, is that Barr is investigating the origin of the entire Trump-RUSSIA travesty.

The FBI's ultimately successful October 2016 warrant application to surveil Page, which relied in part on information from British ex-spy Christopher Steele - whose anti-Trump views are now well-documented - flatly accused Page of conspiring with Russians.

Mueller concluded that neither Trump nor anyone in his campaign colluded with Russian Federation. "There were dirty cops", he said.

He falsely claimed that the Mueller report had found "no obstruction". Barr didn't answer, insisting he has said everything he planned to say about the report until it comes out. Three-quarters of Americans think the full Mueller report should be made public, according to a PBS NewsHour-NPR-Marist poll conducted after the report was filed.

In the Republican-controlled Senate, the threat of a subpoena is significantly lower for Barr, but he'll still have to face off with Democratic senators who are likely to push him on the report redactions as well as his four-page summary of Mueller's conclusions. Democrats said they were concerned that Barr's letter portrayed the investigation's findings in an overly favorable way for Trump.



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