Barr Embarrasses Reporter With 'Unprecedented' Question

April 18, 2019

Attorney General William Barr dismissed a reporter who questioned his handling of the special counsel Robert Mueller's report and the "unprecedented" situation he faces during a Thursday morning press conference.

"Mr. Attorney General, it's not just Democrats who have questions over the process here. A Republican-appointed judge on Tuesday said you have, 'created an environment that has caused a significant part of the American public to be concerned about these redactions.' You cleared the president on obstruction, the president is fund-raising off your comments about spying, and here you have remarks that are quite generous to the president, including acknowledging his feelings and his emotions. What do you say to people on both sides of the aisle who are concerned that you're trying to protect the president?" CBS's Paula Reid asked.

"Actually, the statements about his sincere beliefs are recognized in the report that there was substantial evidence for that, so I'm not sure what your basis is for saying that I am being generous to the president," Barr responded.

"You say an unprecedented situation," Reid said. "It just seems like there's a lot of effort to say, to go out of your way to acknowledge—"

"Well is there another precedent for it?" Barr asked.

"No, but it's unusual that—" Reid began.

"Okay, so unprecedented is an accurate description," Barr said, moving on to other questions.

Barr told reporters Mueller found "no evidence" President Trump or campaign associates conspired with Russia to collude to interfere in the 2016 election. Barr also said no material in the Mueller report was redacted on grounds of executive privilege.

On the question of obstruction of justice, the attorney general acknowledged he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein did not fully agree with Mueller's legal theories and "felt that some of the episodes did not amount to obstruction as a matter of law."

The report will be released to Congress and the public later today.