Campaigns

What candidates running to replace Trump are saying about Barr and Mueller report

Attorney general reiterates decision that president’s actions did not qualify as obstruction

Protesters gather in Lafayette Square across from the White House on Feb. 18 to oppose President Donald Trump’s border wall emergency declaration (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Presidential hopefuls on Thursday quickly denounced Attorney General William Barr and renewed calls for the release of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s full report on Russian interference in the 2016 election.

California Rep. Eric Swalwell, who entered the presidential race last week, called on Barr to resign, saying he should never have been confirmed and should have recused himself from oversight of the Mueller investigation. 

“You can be the President’s defense attorney or America’s Attorney General, but you can’t be both,” the congressman said in a statement after the redacted Mueller report was released. 

“He has proved that he’s an embedded Trump ally who puts this President’s political future above of the rule of law. That makes him unfit to serve. He must resign,” added Swalwell, a member of the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees. 

Barr said at a press conference Thursday ahead of the release of the redacted report that Mueller did not find evidence of collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian operatives. He said the report detailed 10 episodes involving the president that could point to obstruction of justice, but Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein determined no crime occurred.

Watch: Barr on Mueller report ahead of release — ‘No collusion’

Members of Congress running for the White House who sit on relevant congressional committees were among the first to weigh in following Barr’s press conference.

Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Cory Booker of New Jersey, both members of the Judiciary Committee, called for the release of the entire report and for Mueller to testify before the panel. Klobuchar also said on Twitter that Barr “has made it clear that he is not impartial when it comes to this investigation.”

California Sen. Kamala Harris, a member of the Judiciary and Intelligence committees, slammed Barr’s press conference as “a stunt, filled with political spin and propaganda,” while also calling for Mueller to testify before Congress.

Here’s a look at what the candidates are saying so far:

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on Twitter:

Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney on Twitter

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro on Twitter:

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg on Twitter

Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan in a statement from his House office:

“Today, Attorney General William Barr demonstrated that he has decided to be the personal attorney for President Trump rather than fulfilling his role as attorney for the American people. It’s beyond unacceptable.”
Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper on Twitter: Author and activist Marianne Williamson on Twitter: California Sen. Kamala Harris on Twitter: Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, who is challenging Trump in the Republican primary, on Twitter: Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Twitter: New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in a statement:
“Attorney General Barr’s preemptive press conference today was a complete farce and an embarrassing display of propaganda on behalf of President Trump. Attorney General Barr works for the American people, not the president of the United States. Congress must get the full, unredacted Mueller report, and the American people deserve to know its full findings because nobody, especially not the president of the United States, is immune from accountability.”
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker in a statement from his Senate office:
“In 20 minutes this morning Barr undermined a two-year investigation by going out of his way to frame the evidence in a light most favorable to the President. Barr made clear this morning that he is more concerned about protecting the President than protecting the independence of the Special Counsel’s investigation. His actions were what you would expect from President Trump’s defense lawyer, not our nation’s top law enforcement officer. Enough with the partisan spin – it’s time Congress and the American people have the opportunity to view the report and hear from Mueller himself. Mueller should testify in front of the Senate’s Judiciary Committee next month.”
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Twitter: Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar on Twitter:

 

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.