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William Barr Testifies Ahead Of Expected Release Of The Mueller Report

William Barr Testifies Ahead Of Expected Release Of The Mueller Report

Attorney General William Barr testified before congress after saying several days ago that the Mueller report would be released “within a week.”

"This process is going along very well and my original timetable of being able to release this by mid-April stands," Barr said.

Barr made several other noteworthy comments during the proceedings.

Spying on Trump:

William Barr was asked if, as Bloomberg News reported, he was planning to review how and why the Federal Bureau of Investigation launched an investigation into possible conspiracy involving Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russia.

He was indeed, he responded.

“I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal,” Barr said, citing federal guidelines governing when it’s OK for intelligence agencies and law enforcement to conduct domestic political surveillance. “It’s a big deal.”

“I’m not suggesting that those rules were violated, but I think it’s important to look at that,” he added. “I’m not talking about the FBI necessarily but intelligence agencies more broadly.”

“So you’re not suggesting, though, that spying occurred?” asked Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a New Hampshire Democrat.

Barr stumbled a bit in responding to that, but he found his footing.

“I don’t, well, I guess you could, I think there’s a spying did occur, yes — I think spying did occur,” he said. “The question is whether it was predicated, adequately predicated. And I'm not suggesting it wasn't adequately predicated, but I'd need to explore that.”

On marijuana policy:

“The situation that I think is intolerable and which I’m opposed to is the current situation we’re in, and I would prefer one of two approaches rather than where we are,” Barr said. “Personally, I would still favor one uniform federal rule against marijuana but, if there is not sufficient consensus to obtain that, then I think the way to go is to permit a more federal approach so states can make their own decisions within the framework of the federal law and so we’re not just ignoring the enforcement of federal law.”

Barr said that he hasn’t specifically looked at the STATES Act yet, but that the bill is currently being circulated internally through the Justice Department “for comment.”

“Once we get those comments, we’ll be able to work with you on any concerns about the STATES law, but I would much rather that approach—the approach taken by the STATES Act—than where we currently are,” he said.

Democrats unsatisfied about report:

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said he was unsatisfied with Barr's answers to the appropriations panel, saying he could issue subpoenas "very quickly" if the Mueller report is released with redactions.

"We've done everything we could for the last weeks and weeks to try to reach an accommodation with the attorney general under which we would see the report and the underlying evidence," Nadler said. "He has been unresponsive to our requests."