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Barr Says 'No' to House Dem's Testimony Request After Bruising Senate Showdown

Attorney General William Barr. (Image credit: CBN News)

WASHINGTON - Attorney General William Barr pulled the plug on Thursday's testimony before the House Judiciary Committee.

"He is terrified of having to face a skilled attorney," Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) told reporters.

But the Justice Department says that's not the case. It objects to committee Democrats' 'unprecedented' decision to have Barr take questions from congressional lawyers, not just members of Congress.

Congressman Steve Cohen (D-Tenn) arrived at Thursday's hearing with a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken, an apparent jab at Barr. 

Barr's refusal to appear before the House Committee comes just one day after a contentious, five-hour, back and forth with Senate Democrats.

Much of the debate, centered on a letter from Special Counsel Robert Mueller to Barr criticizing aspects of his four-page summary of Mueller's principal conclusions in the Russia investigation.

In it Mueller writes, "The summary letter the department sent to Congress and released to the public...did not fully capture the context, nature and substance of this office's work and conclusions."

According to Barr, Mueller made it clear to him he did not think Barr's summary misled the American people.

"He said his concern focused on his explanation of why he did not reach a conclusion on obstruction. And he wanted more put out on that issue," Barr testified.

"But he was very clear with me that he was not suggesting that we had misrepresented his report," he went on to say. 

"The letter is a bit snitty, I think it was probably written by one of his staff people," Barr said later.

Barr went on to criticize the fact that the special counsel did not make a decision when it came to obstruction of justice, another focal point of Thursday's hearing. 

"If he felt that he shouldn't go down the path of making a traditional prosecutive decision, then he shouldn't have investigated," Barr said. 

Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) used the hearing to question the origins of the entire investigation.

"We know that the person in charge of investigating hated Trump's guts. These are the people that made a decision that Clinton didn't do anything wrong and that counter-intelligence investigation of the Trump campaign was warranted," Graham said.

When it comes to collusion, obstruction and a future testimony from Robert Mueller: Graham says no more. 

"I'm not going to do anymore, enough already. It's over," Graham told reporters. 

But it may not be over for Barr. Several Democrats, including many presidential candidates, are calling for him to step down. 

"America deserves better. You should resign," said Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI),

"I think he's lost the confidence of the American people, I think he should (resign)," said former Vice President Joe Biden. 

President Trump, however, is standing by the attorney general. "I heard he was - he really performed incredibly well today," Trump told Fox Business. 

The House Judiciary is still holding Thursday's hearing, without Barr. And the legal battle over releasing the full Mueller report and its underlying evidence could lead to a vote to hold the attorney general in contempt.


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