Klobuchar sent a letter to Special Counsel Robert Mueller and a series of Questions for the Record to Attorney General William Barr following Barr’s testimony at last week’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the Special Counsel’s report
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to Special Counsel Robert Mueller today requesting information regarding the Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 President Election. She also submitted questions for the record for Attorney General William Barr regarding his testimony last week at the Senate Judiciary Committee. The questions to both Justice Department officials concern the report’s findings on Russian election interference and obstruction of justice. Last week, following Barr’s recommendation that she direct her questions regarding President Trump’s tax records and the Trump Organization’s financial statements to Mueller, Klobuchar sent a letter to Mueller asking whether he reviewed those materials.
“We need more information from both Special Counsel Mueller and Attorney General Barr following last week’s Senate hearing and the release of the Special Counsel’s report,” Klobuchar said. “The Attorney General’s mischaracterizations of the redacted report’s findings have raised more questions than they have answered. The American people deserve a Justice Department that is committed to the impartial administration of justice and I will continue to press for answers on their behalf.”
Klobuchar’s questions for the record can be found here. The full text of her letter to Special Counsel Mueller can be found below:
Dear Special Counsel Mueller:
I write to request additional information from your office related to the Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election.
Today I submitted several written questions for Attorney General Barr following up on his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 1. As I stated in my letter to you on May 2, there were occasions during the Attorney General’s testimony in which he was unable to speak to certain sections of the report or to the underlying evidence evaluated by your office. As a result, I respectfully request that you provide answers to the following questions, which I believe could be more adequately addressed by your office:
- On March 27, you wrote to Attorney General Barr expressing your concern that his four-page letter to Congress “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of [your] Office’s work and conclusions.” In addition to that letter and your March 5 meeting, what other communications did you have with the Attorney General about the investigation after you submitted your report?
- I asked the Attorney General whether the President’s implication that Mr. Cohen’s family members had committed crimes was evidence of an attempt to convince a witness to change testimony. He responded that it “could [not] pass muster as subornation of perjury.”
- In your view, is this an accurate characterization of your report?
- Attorney General Barr also testified that “general public statements like that” could not satisfy the elements of obstruction. Do you believe that public statements by a sitting President could have the effect of obstructing justice?
- I also asked whether private statements, such as the President’s personal counsel telling Paul Manafort that he would be “taken care of[,]” constituted obstruction. The Attorney General said “No, not standing alone.” Do you agree with his characterization of the law?
- I asked the Attorney General whether the President’s personal counsel telling Michael Cohen that the President would “have his back” if he stayed on message was an obstructive act. The Attorney General responded that “the [Special] Counsel acknowledged that it’s unclear whether [the President’s personal counsel] was reflecting the president’s statement on that.” Is that an accurate characterization of the findings laid out in your report?
- I asked the Attorney General whether it was obstruction for the President to call Paul Manafort a brave man for refusing to “break.” The Attorney General stated, “I think what the president’s lawyers would say if this were ever actually joined, is that the president’s statements about flipping are quite clear and expressed. And uniformly the same, which is, by ‘flipping’ he meant succumbing to pressure on unrelated cases to lie and compose to in order to get lenient treatment on other cases.”
- Is this an accurate characterization of the facts laid out in your report?
- Attorney General Barr also stated that the President’s statements were “discouraging flipping” and therefore “in that sense is not obstruction.” Is that an accurate analysis of your findings?
- I asked the Attorney General if the President encouraging then-White House Counsel Don McGahn to create a false record would have impaired the integrity of evidence.
- The Attorney General stated that “there would not be sufficient evidence to establish any of the three elements there.” Is this an accurate characterization of the findings in your report?
- The Attorney General also stated that because Mr. McGahn “already had testified to the Special Counsel” it is hard to “establish the nexus to the proceeding.” Do you agree that, in this instance, there is an insufficient nexus to a proceeding?
- The Attorney General stated that “the report says that the President’s intent was directed at publicity and the press” and that there is “ample evidence… that would prevent the government from establishing” corrupt intent. Is this an accurate characterization of the facts laid out in your report?
- I asked the Attorney General whether circumstantial evidence, such as a pattern of potentially obstructive acts, can illuminate intent. He responded that this concept is “one of the problems with this whole approach that’s suggested [in] the Special Counsel’s report” and that “it’s been shot down in a number of other contexts.” Is the Attorney General’s characterization of the law consistent with the legal analysis in your report, which cites U.S. v. Frankhauser, U.S. v. Arnold, and U.S. v. Cintolo?
- I asked the Attorney General whether the President’s actions detailed in the report are consistent with his oath of office and his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed. He responded that “the evidence in the report is conflicting.”
- Do you agree with the Attorney General’s characterization of the evidence in your report regarding whether the President’s actions were consistent with this oath of office and constitutional duty?
- In your view, where there is conflicting evidence about whether the President’s actions are consistent with his oath of office or constitutional duty, is it appropriate for the Department of Justice to clear the President of all wrongdoing?
Thank you for your attention to this matter. I look forward to your response.