Hirono to Barr: 'You Lied to Congress ... You Lied ... You Should Resign!'

By Michael W. Chapman | May 1, 2019 | 4:47 PM EDT

Sen. Maize Hirono (D-Hawaii)
(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images) 

(CNSNews.com) -- At a hearing on Russian interference in the 2016 election held today by the Senate Judiciary Committee, Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono (Hawaii) spent nearly all of her allotted time not asking questions of the witness, Attorney General William Barr, but berating him as a flunkie for President Trump and repeatedly accusing him of lying to Congress. 

"You lied to Congress," claimed Hirono. "You told Rep. Charlie Crist [D-Fla.] that you didn't know what objections Mueller's team might have to your March 24th so-called summary. You told Sen. Chris Van Hollen [D-Md.] that you didn't know if Bob Mueller supported your conclusions, but you knew. You lied. And now we know."

 

"You should resign," she said in ending her remarks. In her opening comments, she said that Barr was no different than "any of the other people who sacrificed their once-decent reputation for the grifter and liar who sits in the Oval Office."

After her time ran out, Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said, "You have slandered this man from top to bottom. If you want more of this you're not going to get it."

Hirono's exchange with Barr is presented in the video. The transcript of her remarks is published here: 

Mr. Barr, now the American people know that you are no different from Rudy Giuliani or Kellyanne Conway or any of the other people who sacrificed their once-decent reputation for the grifter and liar who sits in the oval office.

You once turned down a job offer from Donald Trump to represent him as his private attorney. at your confirmation hearing, you told Sen. Feinstein that, quote, the job of attorney general is not the same as representing, end quote, the president.

So you know the difference but you've chosen to be the president's lawyer and side with him over the interest of the American people.

Attorney General William Barr. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

To start with, you should never have been involved in supervising the Robert Mueller investigation. You wrote a 19-page, unsolicited memo, which you admit was not based on any facts, attacking the premise of half the investigation and you also should have insisted that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein recuse himself. He wasn't just a witness to some of the president's obstructive behavior. We now know he was in frequent, personal contact with the president, a subject of the investigation. you should have left it to career officials.

Then once the report was delivered by the special counsel, you delayed its release for more than two weeks. You let the president's personal lawyers look at it before you even deemed to let congress or the public see it. During the time you substituted your special counsel's legal conclusion in a four-page letter to congress. And now we know, thanks to a free press, that Mr. Mueller wrote you a letter, objecting to your so-called summary.

When you called Mueller to discuss his letter, the reports are that he thought your summary was giving the press, Congress, and the public a misleading impression of his work. He asked you to release the report summaries to correct the misimpression you created, but you refused.

When you finally did decide to release the report over a congressional recess and on the eve of two major religious holidays, you called a press conference to once again try to clear Donald Trump before anyone had a chance to read the special counsel's report and come to their own conclusions. But when we read the report, we knew Robert Mueller's concerns were valid and that your version of events was false.

You used every advantage of your office to create the impression that the president was cleared of misconduct. You selectively quoted fragments from the special counsel's report, taking some fo the most important statements out of context and ignoring the rest.

You put the power and authority of the office of the attorney general and the Department of Justice behind a public relations effort to help Donald Trump protect himself.

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Finally, you lied to Congress. You told Rep. Charlie Crist that you didn't know what objections Mueller's team might have to your march 24th so-called summary. You told Sen. Chris Van Hollen that you didn't know if Bob Mueller supported your conclusions, but you knew. You lied. And now we know.

A lot of respected nonpartisan legal experts and elected officials were surprised by your efforts to protect the president. But I wasn't surprised. You did exactly what I thought you'd do. That's why I voted against your confirmation. I suspected protect the president and, indeed, you did.

In 1989 — this isn't something you hadn't done before — in 1989 when you refused to show Congress an OLC opinion that led to the arrest of Manuel Noriega. In 1992 when you recommended pardons for the subjects of the Iran-contra scandal. And last year, when you wrote the 19-page memo telling Donald Trump a president can't be guilty of obstruction of justice and then didn't recuse yourself from the matter.

From the beginning, you are addressing an audience of one. That person being Donald Trump. That's why before the bombshell news of yesterday evening, 11 of my Senate colleagues and I called on the Department of Justice inspector general and office of professional responsibility to investigate the way you have handled the Mueller report. I wanted them to determine whether your actions then complied with the department's practices and policies and whether you had demonstrated sufficient impartiality to continue to oversee the 14 other criminal matters that the special counsel referred to in other parts — to other parts of the department of justice.

But now we know more about your deep involvement in trying to cover up for Donald Trump. Being attorney general of the United States is a sacred trust. You have betrayed that trust. America deserves better. You should resign.

Michael W. Chapman
Michael W. Chapman
Michael W. Chapman

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