“Okay, so ‘unprecedented’ is an accurate description isn’t it?”
Attorney General William Barr held a press conference Thursday morning ahead of the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s highly anticipated report on his investigation into President Donald Trump’s possible collusion with the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 election.
Barr reiterated many of the points he made last month when he summarized the Mueller report’s findings, while also revealing the report identifies 10 instances of potential obstruction of justice and said he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein disagreed with with some of Mueller’s legal theories.
Barr also said the president’s frustration regarding the investigation was understandable considering the “unprecedented” situation he faced coming into office.
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“The president was frustrated and angered by the sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency,” he said.
Barr’s comments sparked pushback from at least one reporter during the press conference, who suggested that the attorney general was unduly sympathetic toward the president and had acknowledged his “feelings and emotions.”
“What do you say to people on both sides of the aisle who are concerned that you are trying to protect the president?” CBS News correspondent Paula Reid said.
Barr responded by saying that his references to the president’s “sincere beliefs” were drawn from the Mueller report itself.
“So I’m not sure what your basis is for saying that I’m being generous to the president?” Barr asked.
“You say it’s an ‘unprecedented’ situation. It’s just seems like there’s a lot of – to go out of your way to acknowledge how – ” Reid said before Barr interjected.
“Well, is there another precedent for it?” he said.
“No,” Reid conceded.
“Okay, so ‘unprecedented’ is an accurate description isn’t it?” Barr said.
“Yeah,” Reid replied.
“Okay,” Barr said with a head nod and moved on to field the next question.
Later on during the presser, a HuffPost reporter accused Barr of “spinning the report before the public has a chance to read it,” prompting the attorney general to respond, “no” and walk off the stage.
Democrats have accused Barr of being politically motivated to shelter the president following the Mueller report’s findings clearing Trump and his associates of colluding with the Kremlin. Many were outraged at Barr for even holding the press conference, claiming that it would merely be an exercise in spin for the president.
I don’t know why some of you on here are so vocally upset by that Barr presser, the attorney general is required by law to own libs, the mans just doing his job leave him alone
— Asawin Suebsaeng (@swin24) April 18, 2019
A “BoycottBarr” hashtag began trending on Twitter on Thursday in response.
Meanwhile, conservatives have characterized the liberal reaction to Barr as a “meltdown” precipitated by disappointment over the Mueller report’s exoneration of Trump.
Full melt down at @CNN. Fun to watch. As I have always said, they would rather see our country fail than see my father succeed.
— Eric Trump (@EricTrump) April 18, 2019
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