Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) condemned Attorney General William Barr as a "liar" who was abusing his office to place President Donald Trump above the law.
The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee -- where an impeachment proceeding would begin -- said the Trump campaign had clearly colluded with Russia and the president had obstructed justice in that investigation, and he said Barr had lied about what special counsel Robert Mueller found, reported CNBC.
"If you read the Mueller report, there was tons of evidence that they knew the Russians were interfering with the election on their behalf," Nadler said. "They welcomed it, they wanted it, and they coordinated with it. Colluded, in a word. There’s no question about that."
Barr, however, has repeatedly said there was no evidence of collusion, which Trump has been insisting for more than two years.
"Bill Barr is just a liar," Nadler said. "and he’s just representing the president."
Nadler saw two possible motives for Barr's behavior, and he said both were dangerous.
"The less charitable interpretation is he’s doing whatever he has to do, to protect the president personally," Nadler said, "And he’ll hide whatever he has to hide. Lied may be too strong a word, but he certainly misrepresented very strongly what was in the report."
"The more charitable interpretation," he added, "is that he simply believes in the so-called unitary theory of government, and this tyrannical theory that any president cannot obstruct justice, that as long as he believes that he didn’t do anything wrong, he can stop an investigation. Which is a terrible doctrine because it would mean that you can’t investigate any president for doing anything. And that he is acting now to protect that point of view."
Barr and congressional Republicans are helping the Trump administration defy subpoenas and other constitutionally mandated legislative oversight, Nadler warned.
"They’re trying to say that Congress, representing the American people, can’t get information, and therefore, can’t function," he said. "The effect of that is to make the president a monarch, to make him a dictator, and that’s what we’ve got to fight."
Nadler, who has the authority to launch an impeachment hearing, said he first wants to launch investigations that could eventually garner public support for that constitutional process.
"It depends where the American people are, whether they want to go that way or not," he said. "I don’t want to make it sound as if we’re heading for impeachment. Probably we’re not. Probably, but I don’t know."