'It is over:' Republicans close ranks at Barr hearing

'It is over:' Republicans close ranks at Barr hearing

'It is over:' Republicans close ranks at Barr hearing

The Democrats are scared to death of him.

Barr, in the job since February, had been grilled a day earlier in the Republican-led Senate, where Democrats accused him of whitewashing Mueller's report in order to protect Trump. He declined to attend a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday, and Democrats have threatened to charge him with contempt of Congress for refusing to appear at the hearing.

Even as Democratic lawmakers accused the Trump administration of a growing attack on USA democracy and the authority of Congress, the White House showed no sign of backing down.

"That's a crime", Pelosi, the top Democrat in Congress, told reporters, referring to Barr's congressional testimony. White House legal counsel Emmet Flood said in a defiant letter that Trump had the right to tell advisers not to testify to congressional panels on the findings of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation inquiry.

Flood also said Mueller's 448-page report suffered from "an extraordinary legal defect" by failing to determine whether Trump had committed the crime of obstruction of justice. "Nobody is above the law, not the president of the United States, and not the attorney general". It also concluded that Trump and his campaign had not engaged in criminal conspiracy with Moscow.

The committee's chairman, Democrat Jerrold Nadler, has proposed that Barr's public testimony be followed by a second round of questioning, where sensitive matters would be discussed behind closed doors and include committee staff lawyers, a House Democratic aide told Reuters.

"The system of limited power, the system of not having a president as a dictator, is very much at stake".

During the hearing, Barr repeated his promise to investigate who ordered the Trump-Russia probe and whether laws were broken.

Democrat Steve Cohen mocked the attorney general's absence, bringing a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken to the proceedings. Barr said he'd already assigned DOJ staffers to assist.

If the House approves a contempt motion, it would open Barr to congressional punishments including fines.

The constant mantra from the Democrats these last two years has been that Trump obstructed justice via attempts to derail the Mueller investigation by threatening to fire Mueller, tweeting about the unfairness of the investigation into non-existent collusion, and numerous comments he made in criticism of the on-going Mueller harassment of himself and his associates.

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