May 07, 2019

Manchin: Mueller Should Testify To Congress | WV MetroNews

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, W-Va., one of three Democrats who voted to confirm William Barr as attorney general, says special counsel Robert Mueller must testify before lawmakers following Barr’s appearance last week before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“You need to have everyone coming forth,” Manchin said. “We need total transparency, and we won’t be able to have this thing settled one way or another until you have Mueller before Congress.”

Democrats on the Judiciary Committee questioned Barr for his handling of the investigation into the 2016 presidential election. Mueller sent Barr a letter in March regarding Barr’s four-page summary of the report, saying it did not “fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of the inquiry.

Mueller also noted “public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation.”

Following an appearance last week at the Shawnee Sports Complex in Kanawha County, Manchin said having Mueller appear would clear up the uncertainty.

“When Robert Mueller comes before Congress, then they can say one person is saying one thing. Does that coincide with what Barr has said? Was there an understanding in the way Barr says there was or was there not?” he said. “We’ll be able to find out very quickly.”

The Senate in February voted to confirm Barr; Manchin voted in favor of the nomination, as did Alabama’s Doug Jones and Arizona’s Krysten Sinema.

Since the vote, the Department of Justice announced support for a federal judge’s ruling striking down the health care law. A coalition of states, which includes West Virginia, put forward the lawsuit arguing the repeal of the individual mandate in the 2017 tax law made the entire health care law unconstitutional.

Manchin has been vocal about protecting “Obamacare,” leading Democratic efforts to intervene in the legal proceedings. He criticized the Justice Department’s decision, but told MetroNews last month Barr opposed the department’s move.

Yet Manchin said his vote for Barr may have been a mistake following the attorney general’s recent testimony.

“I’m very much troubled. I’m very much concerned,” he said. “What I saw there — thinking that anybody in the executive office is going to be above reproach — is not what I believe the Founding Fathers set in the Constitution and the country that we are. I believe once we have Mueller, then I’ll be able to make a full determination.”

When asked if Barr was representing the Justice Department or President Donald Trump, Manchin called the attorney general’s appearance “very partisan.”

Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., offered Mueller an opportunity to appear before the committee if there are discrepancies between the special counsel and Barr regarding a phone call the two had on Barr’s summary.

Manchin said the offer does not suffice.

“Everyone is talking about everything and wanting to be transparent. If you want to be transparent, then have everyone come before the committee,” he said.

Barr declined to testify before the House Judiciary Committee last Thursday on Mueller’s report because of a disagreement on possible questioning by staff attorneys and lawmakers.


By:  Alex Thomas