Attorney General William Barr says it's 'not a crime' for Trump to ask his aide to lie for him
Attorney General William Barr, during his testimony on Wednesday, said that it is "not a crime" for President Donald Trump to ask an aide to lie for him. Barr, while testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, argued that there is a difference between asking someone to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller versus having him removed based on conflict of interest.
The committee is currently questioning Barr over his conclusion that the findings of the Mueller's report were not sufficient to charge Trump with obstruction of justice after the special counsel clearly stated that he is neither exonerating nor implicating the president on the issue.
Ranking member Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) questioned Barr during the hearing over whether Trump obstructed justice or not, citing the Mueller report's points of possible obstruction of justice by the president.
"You still have a situation where a president essentially tries to change the lawyer's account in order to prevent further criticism of himself," the senator said in reference to an instance detailed in Mueller's report involving former White House counsel Don McGahn.
To which Barr responded with: "Well that’s not a crime."
"So you can in this situation instruct someone to lie?" Feinstein asked.
The Attorney General then argued that the president would have to be "impairing the evidence in a particular proceeding" for it to amount to obstruction of justice. He also suggested that McGahn had taken note of Trump's requests to remove the special counsel to memorialize that the president was not explicitly asking for Mueller to be "fired."
Barr said: "There is a distinction between saying to someone 'go fire him, go fire Mueller,' and saying 'have him removed based on conflict.' They have different results." The AG added that the request would lead to another special counsel being appointed on the probe.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller detailed at least 10 instances in his report, which spanned a period of two years, suggesting possible obstruction of justice involving the president, which also included Trump's efforts to remove the special counsel.
Mueller supervised an investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in an attempt to influence the 2016 presidential elections. He presented the much-awaited report to Barr last month, who in turn, produced a four-page summary and weeks later issued a redacted version of the report after pressure from the Congress.