Attorney General William Barr told Congress on Wednesday that no underlying crime is necessary in order to indict the president of the United States for obstruction of justice.
At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) noted that Barr's office had decided not to charge the president with obstruction based on the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.
"Okay. So very quickly, give us your reasoning why you think it would be inappropriate to proceed forward on obstruction of justice in this case," Graham asked.
"Generally speaking," Barr replied, "an obstruction case typically has two aspects to it. One, there’s usually an underlying criminality aspect to it."
"Let’s stop right there," Graham interrupted. "Was there an underlying crime there?"
Barr agreed that there was no underlying crime in this case.
"Usually there is," Graham said confidently.
"Usually," Barr interjected. "But it’s not necessary. Sort of the paradigmatic case is there’s an underlying crime and the person or people indicated concerned about that criminality being discovered take an inherently malignant act, such as destroying documents."
Watch the video below from CNN.