US President Donald Trump and a senior Democrat in Congress are increasing pressure on US Attorney General William Barr over the report on the Russia probe, making new demands on him after an already tough week for the chief of the US Justice Department.
Trump said Friday it will be up to Barr to decide whether US Special Counsel Robert Mueller, author of the report on Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 US election, will testify to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which wants to hear from him.
Barr released a redacted version of the Mueller report on April 18.
Also on Friday, US Representative Jerrold Nadler, Chairman of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, set a new deadline of Monday for Barr to comply with a subpoena seeking an unredacted version of the Mueller report before moving to hold Barr in contempt of Congress.
“If the department persists in its baseless refusal to comply with a validly issued subpoena, the committee will move to contempt proceedings and seek further legal recourse,” Nadler, a Democrat from New York, wrote.
The developments come as Barr, Mueller and his report will remain in sharp focus next week in Washington, where Congress and Trump are on a collision course over investigations being led by Nadler and other congressional committees.
Barr, who was appointed by Trump in February, testified on Wednesday for four hours to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Barr faced heavy criticism from congressional Democrats, who have accused him of misrepresenting the findings of Mueller’s 448-page report on the Russia investigation.
The same committee now wants to talk to Mueller. His two-year investigation uncovered many links between Russians and Trump’s election campaign, but concluded there was insufficient evidence to establish a criminal conspiracy between the campaign and Moscow.
If Barr does not comply, the House Judiciary Committee is expected to move forward on Monday with a contempt citation that could ultimately lead to a civil court case against Barr, followed by fines and even imprisonment for failure to comply.