While testifying before the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday, Attorney General Bill Barr was asked whether it is ever acceptable for a president to take foreign assistance for an election. Barr claimed it depended on the information, but was later forced to clean up the statement once someone explained to him that accepting foreign assistance for an election is still illegal.
Speaking to MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace, former FBI General Counsel Andrew Weissmann explained that it is a crime, something that Barr should be well aware of.
“First, there is a federal statute that makes it a crime to accept or solicit any assistance,” Weissmann explained. “So, the congressman had it totally right. So the attorney general’s initial statement was just wrong. And you could see what was going on there was that he was caught because he knew what the evidence was with respect to the president and the evidence with respect to the impeachment. And he was trying to duck it.”
Weissmann said that it doesn’t exactly speak well for Barr taking an oath to tell the truth, much less his oath of office.
“He eventually got to what was an obvious answer, which is, ‘No. you cannot accept or solicit any foreign assistance,'” said Weissmann. “And it goes to sort of a larger point that people have been getting at, which is the partisan nature of what the attorney general was up to today. Where he talked about the ‘Russian hoax,’ but at the same time, he was willing to say that there clearly is going to be foreign interference in connection with having mail-in voting. But he also had to admit he had zero evidence to support that. So, you had enormous dichotomies between the truth and partisan effort on his part to support the president.”
Watch the conversation below: