On Wednesday, Attorney General William Barr testified before Congress about the Mueller report. The hearing was contentious. Democrats berated Barr for seeming to protect the interests of the president over the duties of his office.
Here are six draw-dropping moments from the hearings.
1. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) chose to spend his allotted time interrogating Barr about the text messages between two FBI agents, which Trump supporters claim point to an institutional anti-Trump bias in the FBI.
“August 26, 2016,” Hawley told the committee, “This is a text message from Peter Strzok, a top counterintelligence investigator we now know hope launched this counterspy investigation of the president of the United States. Peter Strzok says, ‘Just went to a southern Virginia Walmart. I could smell the Trump support.'”
He continued, “You want to know what’s really going on here, why the counterintelligence investigation really happened question on why we are all really sitting here today? That’s it, right there!” the senator continued. “Because an unelected bureaucrat, and an elected official in this government, who clearly has open disdain if not outright hatred for Trump voters like the people of my state, for instance. ‘I could smell the Trump support?’ Then try to overturn the result of a democratic election.”
2. Meanwhile, Democrats pressed a hesitant Barr on such questions as whether a campaign contacted by a foreign government should divulge that information with the FBI.
When Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) asked Barr, he sat in silence for a full six seconds before sharing his thoughts with Congress.
“If a foreign intelligence service…” Coons began again.
“A foreign intelligence service?” Barr asked. “If a foreign intelligence service does, yes.”
Republicans have gotten a lot of flack for refusing to call out the President's handling of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
3. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), a former prosecutor, confronted Barr with damning information from the Mueller report.
“I asked you if a president or any person convincing a witness to change testimony would be obstruction of justice, and you said yes,” Klobuchar said.
“The report found that Michael Cohen’s testimony to the House, before it, that the president repeatedly implied that Cohen’s family members had committed crimes. Do you consider that evidence to be an attempt to have a witness change its testimony?”
"No. I don’t think that that could pass muster. Those public statements he was making, could pass muster as subornation of perjury,” Barr said, before Klobuchar interrupted him.
“This is a man in the highest office, in the most powerful job in our country,” Klobuchar said. “I’m trying to think of how someone would react if the president of the United States is implying, getting out there that your family members have committed a crime. So you don’t consider that any attempt to change testimony?”
4. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) demanded to know if President Donald Trump had obstructed justice by asking White House counsel Don McGahn to change his account of efforts to remove special counsel Robert Mueller, one of the most damning parts of the obstruction claims against the President.
“Well, that’s not a crime,” Barr replied.
“So you can, in this situation, instruct someone to lie?” Feinstein asked.
5. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has taken his share of flak for failing to stand up to President Donald Trump. But at today's hearing he took things further, actively misleading Congress on the dynamic between Robert Mueller and William Barr.
“Like many of you here, on the Republican side we all agreed that Mr. Mueller should be allowed to do his job without interference,” Graham said. “He was never removed. He was allowed to do his job. So no collusion, no coordination, no conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian government regarding the 2016 election.”
The South Carolina Senator added: “As to obstruction of justice, Mr. Mueller left it to Mr. Barr to decide. After two years and all this time, he said Mr. Barr, you decide. Mr. Barr did.”
As Raw Story reported, that's an inaccurate assessment of what happened. "In fact, there is no evidence that Mueller ever asked Barr to exonerate the president on the question of obstruction," Raw Story writes. "It is more likely that Mueller intended Congress to decide about whether to act on his findings."
6. When it was Sen. Kamala Harris's (D-CA) time to speak, she peppered Barr with questions until he was forced to admit that he had not looked at the underlying evidence in the Trump probe before writing the Barr memo.
“Now the special counsel’s investigation produced a great deal of evidence,” Harris, a Democratic presidential hopeful, said. “I’m led to believe it included witnesses notes and e-mails, witness interviews, testimony, which were summarized in the FBI 302 forms, former director Comey’s memos and the president’s public statements. My question is in reaching your conclusion, did you personally review all of the underlying evidence?”
Barr did not provide Harris with a satisfying answer.
“We accepted the statements in the report as factual record. We did not go underneath it to see whether or not they were accurate. We accepted it as accurate.”
“So you accepted the report as the evidence?” Harris said. “You did not question or look at the underlying evidence that supports the conclusions in the report?”
Barr said he had not. Nor, for that matter, had anyone else in his office.
The attorney general insisted there was nothing unusual about that.
“I think you’ve made it clear, sir that you have not looked at the evidence and we can move on,” Harris said.