Washington – Minnesota U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar grilled Attorney General William Barr on revelations in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report suggesting that President Donald Trump had sought to obstruct justice by influencing the testimony of key figures in the Russia probe.
“I look at the totality of the evidence, and when you look at it, it is a pattern,” said Klobuchar, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.
Klobuchar, one of three Judiciary Committee members running for president, cited reports that Trump had inferred there was possible criminal involvement by family members of attorney Michael Cohen, who was testifying about their business dealings. She also cited evidence that Trump told Cohen that as long as he backed his version of a disputed building project in Moscow, the president “had his back.”
Klobuchar also asked about a report that Trump promised former campaign chairman Paul Manafort that he would be “taken care of” if his loyalty to the president put him in additional legal jeopardy.
She also questioned Barr about reports that Trump had asked White House counsel Don McGahn to deny allegations that he had asked him to fire Mueller. Trump has denied those reports.
Barr disputed that any of those statements, taken alone, amounted to “obstructive acts.”
In a subsequent interview Klobuchar stopped short of saying she thinks Trump committed a crime.
“I want to see all the evidence,” she said. “That’s why I want to see Mueller. I’m someone who believes in seeing all the evidence, so that’s why one of my major points was we have to have Mueller come before us … and all these witnesses, and we have to get to the bottom of it.
“I am glad there are these other investigations going on — that’s one of the points that Mueller made, that there are these other investigations going on,” Klobuchar continued. “And then I think ultimately the president is going to be held accountable at the ballot box.”
Klobuchar also sought to enlist Barr’s support for her bipartisan election security bill calling for audits and paper ballot backup systems.
“I will work with you to enhance the security of our election, and I’ll take a look at what you are proposing,” Barr said. “I’m not familiar with it.”
Klobuchar passed on a chance to call for Barr’s resignation as attorney general, which several of her Democratic colleagues on the Judiciary Committee demanded on Wednesday. That includes Sen. Kamala Harris of California, another Democratic candidate for president.
“I never voted for him in the first place so I don’t think he should be there,” Klobuchar said of Barr. “Whether he resigns or not — he’s not going to resign. But I don’t think he should be there. I don’t like how partisan he is.”