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:
It is clear that Donald Trump wanted nothing more than to shut down the Mueller investigation. While we have more detail from today’s report than before, Congress must continue its investigation into Trump’s conduct and any foreign attempts to influence our election.
The one conclusion that every American should reach from the Mueller report is that we are better than this. We deserve a President free on conflicts, conducting themselves with honor and integrity, and possessing a moral compass that guides their actions. We have to win in 2020.
Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro on Twitter:
Far from exonerating anyone, the Special Counsel report exposes disgraceful behavior by Donald Trump and his inner circle—both in seeking assistance from Russia & attempting to cover it up. Mueller should testify and Congress should investigate charges of obstruction of justice.
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) April 18, 2019
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg on Twitter:
The Mueller report is a disturbing if not completely surprising collection of evidence that shows a president putting his own interests ahead of the country’s. Today again demonstrates why we need to change the channel in 2020.
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) April 18, 2019
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:
AG Barr should work to protect the interests of the people, not the President. It’s clear from this morning’s press conference where his allegiances lie. The American people deserve answers.
— John Hickenlooper (@Hickenlooper) April 18, 2019
Author and activist Marianne Williamson on Twitter:
Using the role of AG for purposes of political messaging is a degradation of the office; William Barr has shown himself to be just another political lackey who serves to do the President’s bidding above all else. The president said he wanted a Roy Cohen and apparently he found it
— Marianne Williamson (@marwilliamson) April 18, 2019
Barr is acting more like Trump’s defense attorney than the nation’s Attorney General. His press conference was a stunt, filled with political spin and propaganda.⁰ ⁰Americans deserve the unvarnished truth. We need Special Counsel Mueller to testify publicly in Congress.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, who is challenging Trump in the Republican primary, on Twitter:
Statement from Bill Weld on the #MuellerReport: “Confidence in our leaders and in our institutions is at the heart of our democracy. That confidence has been shaken. (1/6)
— Gov. Bill Weld (@GovBillWeld) April 18, 2019
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.”
The Attorney General should be the nation’s top law enforcement officer – not a spokesman for the president. This press conference was a disgrace.
We want to hear from Director Mueller himself. pic.twitter.com/O1DYnsAKlm