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Democrat Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL) tried to pressure Attorney General William Barr on Tuesday into committing that he would not release any results from U.S. Attorney John Durham’s criminal investigation into the origins of the Russia investigation until after the election.
During the latter part of last year, what started out as an administration review into the origins of the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into the 2016 Trump campaign turned into a criminal investigation based on evidence reportedly uncovered. The general thinking among the president’s allies is that there was allegedly a criminal conspiracy to use the law enforcement apparatus of the U.S. government to take down Trump.
Barr said earlier this year that the department was investigating a series of acts taken during the Obama-era by law enforcement officials that they view “as part of a number of related acts.” Barr said that there was “very important evidence” that “this was not a bona fide counterintelligence investigation,” and said that he believes that former FBI Director James Comey and former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe were “driving” what was going on.
During Barr’s hearing on Tuesday in front of the House Judiciary Committee, Mucarsel-Powell tried to pressure Barr into agreeing that he would not release any results from the investigation before the election. Barr did not commit.
“Under oath, under oath, do you commit to not releasing any report by Mr. Durham before the November election?” asked Mucarsel-Powell.
“No,” said Barr.
“You don’t commit to that?” the congresswoman asked again.
“No,” he repeated, going on to say that he plans to be “very careful” in how he handles the findings of the investigation (transcript below).
Mucarsel-Powell is running a tough re-election race in Florida’s 26th Congressional District against Republican Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, who is reportedly beating her in the district 47% to 42%, according to a new poll. “Gimenez leads Mucarsel-Powell by double digits among Hispanic voters, 52% to 33%, and 61% to 24% among Cuban voters,” The Miami Herald reported Monday.
Video and transcript of the exchange between Barr and Mucarsel-Powell below:
Democrats are panicking over the possibility that U.S. Attorney John Durham could release the results from his criminal investigation into the origins of the Russia probe before the election
If a criminal conspiracy to take down Trump didn't happen, why are they nervous? pic.twitter.com/hQIKMP8uGb
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) July 29, 2020
REP. DEBBIE MUCARSEL-POWELL (D-FL): And, one last question, if I can. Under oath, under oath, do you commit to not releasing any report by Mr. Durham before the November election?
ATTORNEY GENERAL WILLIAM BARR: No.
MUCARSEL-POWELL: You don’t commit to that?
MUCARSEL-POWELL: So, you won’t go by Department of Justice policy that you won’t interfere in any political investigations before the November election?
BARR: I will be very careful—I know [what] Justice Department policy [is]. We’re not going to interfere. In fact, I’ve made it clear I’m not going tolerate interference.
MUCARSEL-POWELL: But under oath you’re saying that you do not commit to not releasing a report by Durham?
BARR: I’m not going to – any report will be, in my judgement, not one that is covered by the policy and would disrupt the election. I’ve already made it clear that neither candidate is—
MUCARSEL-POWELL: You would go against your own Department of Justice policy, Mr. Barr?
BARR: Why don’t you tell me what that policy is?
MUCARSEL-POWELL: Oh, I have it right here.
BARR: Well, actually—
MUCARSEL-POWELL: Do you want me to repeat it for you?
BARR: No, I know what the policy is.