Former U.S Attorney Preet Bharara wasn’t willing to call Attorney General Bill Barr guilty of perjury on live television, but he couldn’t have gotten much closer to the accusation.
During a Wednesday discussion with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Bharara watched previous testimony from Barr in which he knowingly misled Congress about special counsel Robert Mueller and his team being “frustrated” about the Barr “summary.” It’s now been uncovered that Mueller and his team did express their frustration that Barr refused to release the summaries they outlined.
“I’m not going to sit here on cable television and accuse the attorney general of perjury, but he’s clearly not being straight,” Bharara said. “It’s clearly not being transparent. And it’s odd, also, because you know, he must have thought, maybe, it’s not going to come out, that this letter was sent. And essentially, that report and the language used by Rep. [Charlie] Crist (D-FL) mirrors and tracks almost exactly the language that Bob Mueller used in the letter that was already in the hands of Bill Barr when he said ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.'”
Given his inability to be “straight” about Mueller and the report, Tapper asked if Bharara thinks Barr should recuse himself.
“I don’t know. He’s not going to,” he replied. “He didn’t recuse himself from the Mueller investigation as a whole, even though he wrote a memo unsolicited that pre-judged the whole obstruction issue. I think that’s something that Congress needs to pay very close attention to. And I think it’s of a piece with other exchanges he had, including one with Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) where he said, ‘I struggle with the word suggest,’ on the question of whether the president or anyone else in the White House suggested that he launch an investigation into some of Donald Trump’s adversaries.”
He went on to say that he found it “odd” that Barr was couching himself with “wiggle words” while saying it wasn’t about the substance.
“You know, I wish that there had been more time for Senator [Richard] Blumenthal (D-CT) and others to follow up on those questions and say, ‘If it wasn’t of substance, what was it?'” he continued. “What kind of conversation could it possibly have been? Why would a name come up? And maybe ask for some pledges going forward. But I think it’s something to watch very, very carefully.”
Watch the full exchange below:
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"I am not yielding!" Jayapal exclaimed. "I am not yielding. I am not yielding."