Top Democrats in the US Congress have accused Attorney General William Barr of “misleading” the public and "deliberately" distorting large portions of the Special Counsel's investigation led by Robert Mueller, commonly known as the Russia probe.
Barr claimed on Thursday that the investigation, which started almost two years ago, had failed so far to find any incriminating evidence on President Donald Trump or his election campaign during the 2016 election, or later. Barr claimed Mueller's report had exonerated Trump.
Mueller, however, said the report neither exonerated nor condemned Trump and the matter required further investigation.
In a joint statement later Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) slammed the AG for “misleading” dissemination.
"Special Counsel Mueller's report paints a disturbing picture of a president who has been weaving a web of deceit, lies and improper behavior and acting as if the law doesn't apply to him. But if you hadn't read the report and listened only to Mr. Barr, you wouldn't know any of that because Mr. Barr has been so misleading," read the joint statement.
They added that Barr "deliberately distorted significant portions" of the report and outlined four "significant ways" they believe the attorney general has misled the public, arguing that it's "imperative" that Mueller testify before both chambers of Congress.
Schumer and Pelosi rebuked Barr for defending Trump, arguing that Mueller's report "undercut" the attorney general.
"Attorney General Barr led us to believe that the Office of Legal Counsel opinion did not play a significant role in special counsel Mueller's refusal to make a decision on obstruction. In fact, the report shows that the opinion played a major role, and probably the decisive role," they continue.
Schumer and Pelosi also argued that Barr "directly and dramatically" overplayed the degree to which Trump cooperated with the Mueller investigation, and glossed over that Trump campaign officials were aware of Russia's attempts to influence the 2016 election.
For the time being, Democrats are focused on the obstruction portion of Mueller's report, signaling the direction lawmakers are likely to dig further in the coming weeks.