Sen. Masie Hirono blasts Attorney General Bill Barr for his handling of the Mueller report.
SEN. MAZIE HIRONO: Mr. Barr, the American people know you are no different from Rudy Giuliani or Kellyanne Conway, or any of the other people who sacrifice their once decent reputation for the grifter and liar who sits in the oval office. You once turned down a job offer from Donald Trump to represent him as his private attorney. At your confirmation hearing, you told Sen. Feinstein that, quote, "The job of Attorney General is not the same as representing the president."
So you know the difference but you've chosen to be the president's lawyer and side with him over the interest of the American people. To start with, you should never have been involved in supervising the Robert Mueller investigation. You wrote a 19-page unsolicited memo, which you admit was not based on any fact, attacking the premise of half of the investigation. And you also should have insisted that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein recuse himself. He was not just a witness to some of the president's obstructive behavior, we now know he was in frequent personal contact of the president, a subject of the investigation. You should have left it to career officials.
Then, once the report was delivered by the special counsel, you delayed its release for more than two weeks and let the president's personal lawyers look at it before you even deigned to let the public or the Congress see it. During the time you substituted your own political judgment for the special counsel's legal conclusions in a four-page letter to Congress and now we know, thanks to a free press, that Mr. Mueller wrote you a letter objecting to your so-called summary.
When you called Mueller to discuss his letter, the reports are that he thought your summary was giving the press, Congress, and the public a misleading impression of his work. He asked you to release the report summaries to correct the misimpression you created but you refused. When you finally did decide to release the report over a congressional recess and on the eve of two major religious holidays, you called a press conference, to once again try to clear Donald Trump before anyone had a chance to read the special counsel's report and come to their own conclusions.
But when we read the report, we knew Robert Mueller's concerns were valid. And that your version of events was false. You used every advantage of your office to create the impression that the president was cleared of misconduct. You selectively quoted fragments from the special counsel's report, taking some of the most important statements out of context and ignoring the rest. You put the power and authority of the office of the attorney general and the Department of Justice, behind a public relations effort to help Donald Trump protect himself.
Finally, you lied to Congress. You told representative Charlie Crist that you didn't know what objectives Mueller's team might to the March 24 so-called summary. You told Senator Chris van Hollen that you didn't know if Bob Mueller supported your conclusions, but you knew you lied. And now, we know.
A lot of respected nonpartisan legal experts and elected officials were surprised by your efforts to protect the president. But I wasn't surprised. You did exactly what I thought you'd do, that's why I voted against your confirmation. I expected you would try to protect the president. And indeed, you did.