Pelosi: The Attorney General 'Lied to Congress'; 'That's a Crime'

By Susan Jones | May 2, 2019 | 11:32am EDT
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

( - A grim House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told a news conference on Thursday that Attorney General William Barr "lied to Congress."

"That's a crime," Pelosi said.

She accused an "arrogant" Barr of "misrepresenting and withholding the truth" from Congress, although she did not offer specifics.

She also "connected the dots" linking Attorney General William Barr, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and President Donald Trump, calling the three of them "right-wing ideological handmaiden -- they're handmaidens to the special interests in our country."

She called the three men "anti-government, anti-science, and anti-meeting the needs of the American people."

Pelosi complained about Republicans frustrating the Democrat legislative agenda, and she gave her own view of Wednesday's hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee:

"His sitting there in that arrogance," Pelosi said of Barr. "I don't care about your pre-existing condition. I care about the special interests in our country. That was the message of Barr. So the connecting of the dots between Mitch Mcconnell, the Republican agenda, and Congress, such as it is, the special interest agenda fueled by dark special interest money, that's what that hearing was about.

"It wasn't about technicalities. It wasn't about who wrote the letter and how he characterized the letter. That's interesting. But what is deadly serious about it is the attorney general of the United States of America was not telling the truth to the Congress of the United States. That's a crime."

Pressed on her use of the word crime, Pelosi elaborated: "He lied to Congress. If anybody else did that it would be considered a crime. Nobody is above the law, not the president of the United States and not the attorney general. Being the attorney general does not give you a badge to say whatever you want and it is the fact because you are the attorney general."

Another reporter asked Pelosi what will happen to administration officials, including Barr, who do not comply with congressional subpoenas.

The House Judicicary Committee has subpoenaed the full, unredacted Mueller report; and Chairman Jerrold  Nadler (D-N.Y.) said he may issue a subpoena for Barr to appear before the committee, something he refused to do today. Barr was willing to take questions from committee members, but not from committee staff attorneys.

"I have great confidence in our committees," Pelosi said. "We have six committees that have -- five of them have subpoenas...As you probably know, in the Articles of Impeachment for President Nixon, Article 3 was that he ignored the subpoenas of Congress. That he did not honor the subpoenas of Congress. This is very, very serious.

"My judgment will spring from the judgment of our committee chairs and in terms of -- I'm just looking at Mr. Nadler's statement. In the close of his statement today relating to the attorney general, he said history will judge us how we face this challenge," Pelosi said.

"We'll be held accountable one way or another, and he, Barr, if he doesn't provide this committee with the information and respect it deserves, Mr. Barr's moment of accountability will come soon enough. I think that applies. The committees are trying to make accommodations in terms of receiving the redacted -- unredacted Mueller report. Let them work their will and we'll go to the next step."

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