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Top House Democrats plan to hammer William Barr over Mueller report during Tuesday testimony

Special counsel team was split on obstruction

Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee will confront Attorney General William Barr over his handling of the report into Russian collusion by special counsel Robert Mueller when Barr testifies Tuesday on Capitol Hill for the first time since the report was completed.

New York Democrat Nita Lowey, the Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, will tell Barr the way he handled the report was "unacceptable" and that his four-page letter about the report "raises more questions than it answers," according to excerpts of her remarks as prepared for delivery.

"I must say, it is extraordinary to evaluate hundreds of pages of evidence, legal documents, and findings based on a 22-month long inquiry and make definitive legal conclusions in less than 48 hours," Lowey will say. "Even for someone who has done this job before, I would argue it is more suspicious than impressive."

Barr is appearing before Congress Tuesday morning before an Appropriations subcommittee about the proposed fiscal year 2020 budget for the Justice Department. But it's also the first chance members have had to question the attorney general since he released a summary of the report's findings late last month. 

Since then, Democrats have repeatedly called on Barr to hand over Mueller's findings in full — a report that runs more than 300 pages — as well as the underlying documents used to write the report. Barr said he plans to release a redacted version of the report by mid-April.

CBS News poll finds 77 percent of Americans want full Mueller report released

Democrats have argued that there is legal precedent for Congress to see all of Mueller's work, including sensitive classified information and materials from the grand jury. Last week, the House Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to authorize a subpoena for that material, though Chairman Jerry Nadler has not yet sent it to the White House.

New York Democratic Rep. José Serrano will reference recent reports of disagreements within the special counsel's office over whether Barr accurately summarized their findings on the question of whether President Trump obstructed justice.

"The American people have been left with many unanswered questions; serious concerns about the process by which you formulated your letter; and uncertainty about when we can expect to see the full report," he will say. "I believe the American people deserve to see the full Mueller Report, and to be trusted to make their own determinations on the merits based on what the Special Counsel has presented."

Barr will also testify before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee Wednesday.

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