Rep. Steve Cohen (D., Tenn.) speculated without evidence Thursday that Attorney General William Barr was carrying out President Donald Trump's orders to bring the sprawling Russia investigation to a premature end.
News broke this week that special counsel Robert Mueller's nearly two-year investigation could be wrapping up as early as next week. CNN reported Barr will then submit Mueller's confidential findings to Congress, and there are calls for Barr to then make the report public.
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Cohen told CNN's Brianna Keilar that Barr, who took over the Justice Department last week, was acting on Trump's behalf, although he offered no proof.
"It seems like possibly Barr has put an end to the Mueller investigation, and I think Barr was sought out by Trump probably with The Federalist [Society] to find somebody who would do his bidding," Cohen said. "And I'm afraid he will give us very little insight into the report, and we will have to subpoena Mueller and/or the report."
Keilar called out Cohen's charge and asked him to provide evidence that Barr was terminating the investigation before it was truly finished.
"Well, there are just parts of the Mueller investigation that apparently have not been completed, and it does seem it's more than a coincidence that as soon as he comes in, that the investigation is going to be ended and [Rod] Rosenstein is going to resign the following month," Cohen said. "Unless you're Judy Holliday and you were born yesterday, you can put together the dots."
Cohen pointed to Trump's praise of Barr as a "tremendous man" that something was afoot. Keilar pressed him again, though, wondering if Mueller wasn't perhaps passing off portions of the investigation that could be outside his purview onto other offices.
"Might he just be handing off some of that unfinished business, as you see it?" Keilar asked.
Cohen said Mueller wouldn't allow Barr to conceal information that Congress and the public should see concerning his investigation's findings, claiming again that Barr "is acting on Trump's behest."
"Trump looked for somebody who wouldn't be like Jeff Sessions and he could do what he wanted to do, which is to shut down the Mueller investigation, and I'm sure he put the word out to the Federalist or somebody to find the guy that can do it, and they brought him the man," Cohen said. "That's Bill Barr. We are in a serious situation, congressional, constitutional crisis."
Keilar said she wanted to make clear Cohen was speculating about the timing of the news concerning Mueller's report.
"We're not hearing specific evidence coming from you," she said.