Attorney General Bill Barr was called out by a CNN panel on Tuesday after he incorrectly said that the FBI ignored evidence that would have exculpated President Donald Trump’s campaign regarding allegations of Russian collusion.
As Barr spoke live to The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday afternoon, a panel of CNN analysts commented on the attorney general’s utterances.
“In general, he said, from day one there was evidence that was exculpatory evidence that there was no collusion and the FBI ignored that,” CNN’s Dana Bash announced. “Let’s just start with that. True or false?”
“It’s just not true,” justice correspondent Evan Pérez said. “What he’s talking about in his summation of the entire [Inspector’s General] investigation, I think that’s not true. There was a lot of information still coming in, there was information coming in after the election that gave the FBI more reason to say, okay, let’s look at that.”
Pérez agreed that in hindsight there are some things the agency should have done differently.
“There’s was activity obviously coming from the Russians,” correspondent Pamela Brown pointed out.
“Before he talked about the Inspector General’s report, he talked about impeachment,” New York Times writer Julie Hirschfeld Davis explained. “And this idea that there has been this group of people inside the government trying to take President Trump down, since before he was president.”
“It’s really critical to the president’s defense of himself in the impeachment context and [Bill Barr] is picking up on that he’s sort of viewing all of that — he viewed the Mueller report, he views this IG report through that lens and that is sort of through the prism that he is sharing all of this with the public.”
“You get kind of a distorted view of what the findings are based on [Barr’s representation],” she added.
Pérez said that one statement Barr made about Ukraine in a recent NBC interview was “damaging” to U.S. voters.
“And he’s asked point blank, do you believe Ukraine interfered in the election?” Pérez recalled. “And’s he’s like, ‘I don’t know.'”
“You’re the attorney general!” Pérez added. “This is the attorney general and he knows exactly what the answer is but he cannot say it — it appears to me — he cannot say it because it would go against what the president believes.”
“He has a right to his opinions,” the CNN correspondent noted. “But you cannot as attorney general, frankly, fuel these crazy ideas that are coming from Twitter if you know better.”
“He doesn’t have a right to his own opinions,” Bash replied, “to say in public when he’s the sitting attorney general and it comes down to a very real report that done by real intelligence agencies that both parties agree with.”
Watch the video below from CNN.
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