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Barr Basically Says Mueller Should Have Accused Trump of a Crime if He Had Evidence

In his first statement since Robert Mueller‘s press briefing, Attorney General Bill Barr pushed back on the special counsel’s argument that he couldn’t charge President Donald Trump because of Justice Department policy.

When Mueller spoke on Wednesday about being unable to exonerate Trump for obstruction of justice, he also said that charging the president was “not an option” for his team because of the president supposedly cannot be charged for a crime. In an interview with CBS’ Jan Crawford, Barr was asked for his thoughts on how Mueller “couldn’t make a decision” despite pointing to multiple instances of possible obstruction.

“I personally felt he could’ve reached a decision,” Barr said. “He could’ve reached a conclusion. The opinion says you cannot indict a president while he is in office, but he could’ve reached a decision as to whether it was criminal activity.”

Barr said he wouldn’t argue with Mueller’s reasoning on why he didn’t proceed with charges, but went on to say that since the special counsel couldn’t decide, he and deputy AG Rod Rosenstein had to do so themselves. This led to Crawford asking Barr whether Mueller was suggesting that the decision should be put to Congress.

“The Department of Justice doesn’t use our powers of investigating crimes as an adjunct to Congress,” Barr answered.

Crawford moved on to ask Barr what he makes of critics who’ve accused him of defending the president. Barr responded that people don’t pay attention to substance anymore, and the controversy he faces is a byproduct of the country’s hyper-partisan atmosphere.

“I’m going to make the decisions based on the law and the facts and I realize that’s in tension with the political climate we live in because people are more interested in getting their way politically.”

Watch above, via CBS

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