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Democrats furious at Attorney General Barr for Mueller report rollout

Mueller
Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images.

Attorney General William Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will hold a press conference on Thursday at 9:30 am ET to discuss the release of a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller's report.

Why it matters: Congress will receive the report around 11 am or 12 pm and release it to the public shortly after, according to House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler. Nearly 2 years after the special counsel was appointed, the public will get its most in-depth glimpse yet into what Mueller found in his investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to Russian interference in the 2016 election.

What they're saying: Nadler and several other Democrats have expressed frustration over a story from the New York Times that the Justice Department has already briefed the White House on the contents of the report. The fact that Congress will not receive the Mueller report until at least an hour after the press conference has further infuriated them.

  • Democratic House committee chairs released a joint statement on Wednesday evening demanding Barr cancel Thursday's press conference.
"The Department of Justice announced today that the Attorney General will hold a press conference tomorrow morning before Congress has even seen Special Counsel Muller's report. This press conference, which apparently will not include Special Counsel Mueller, is unnecessary and inappropriate, and appears designed to shape public perceptions of the report before anyone can read it.
"In addition, we understand from press reports that the Department of Justice has had 'numerous conversations with lawyers from the White House about the report, which 'have aided the President's legal team as it prepares a rebuttal to the report.'"
  • Nadler: "I’m deeply troubled by reports that the White House is being briefed on the Mueller report AHEAD of its release. Now, DOJ is informing us we will not receive the report until around 11/12 tomorrow afternoon — AFTER Barr’s press conference. This is wrong. #ReleaseTheReport"
    • "Attorney General Barr wrote to me on April 1: 'I do not believe it would be in the public's interest for me to attempt to summarize the full report.' I agree. So why is the AG holding a press conference tomorrow morning to go over the Mueller report?"
  • House Oversight Chair Elijah E. Cummings: "This is outrageous. The AG is supposed to be an independent beacon of truth and justice. Instead, Barr is debasing the rule of law, degrading our democratic institutions, and decimating any trust the American people have left in this Administration."
  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer: "The process is poisoned before the report is even released. Barr shouldn’t be spinning the report at all, but it’s doubly outrageous he’s doing it before America is given a chance to read it. Barr doesn’t want Americans to make up their own mind. What is he so afraid of?"
  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi: "AG Barr has thrown out his credibility & the DOJ’s independence with his single-minded effort to protect @realDonaldTrump above all else. The American people deserve the truth, not a sanitized version of the Mueller Report approved by the Trump Admin."
  • House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries: "So-called Attorney General is presiding over a dog and pony show. Here is a thought. Release the Mueller report tomorrow morning and keep your mouth shut. You have ZERO credibility."
  • Rep. Eric Swalwell: "Newsflash: no one wants to hear from Barr. Show us the full report. You should never have been confirmed and at best should be recused. We don’t need a statement from the President’s legal team. We want the full #MuellerReport"
  • Chairman of House Intelligence Committee Rep. Adam Schiff: "Just been informed by DOJ that we’ll receive Mueller’s report only after Barr gives a press conference. Once again, Barr wants to shape the public’s perception of the report. This is on top of reports DOJ secretly briefed the White House. This is not justice. Just PR."
  • House Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters told MSNBC's "All In With Chris Hayes": "This report is gonna be overly redacted, and I don’t know if we’re going to get anything new or important out of that. ... I hope that Mueller will come before the committee and have a chance to tell his side of what he has done and have the questions given to him by the members of the Judiciary Committee that will help us to get at the truth about this president. ... I've come to conclude that Trump has the Kremlin clan surrounding him... I think it leads to impeachment."