Trump, Democrats cross swords over powers as 2020 election looms

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham extended an offer to special counsel Robert Mueller Friday to provide testimony about claims made by Attorney General William Barr during testimony earlier this week, according to a letter sent to Mueller.

Democrats have been working to hear directly from Mueller after Attorney General William Barr came under fire for mischaracterizing parts of the Mueller report, and a letter from Mueller to the attorney general surfaced late last week suggesting Barr had misled Congress.

Addressing his committee Thursday, Barr's chair empty, Nadler framed the fight for information for his obstruction probe and other congressional investigations into Trump as a matter of constitutional magnitude.

When Barr was asked why he had testified that he didn't know about the frustrations of Mueller's team after receiving a letter directly, from Mueller, Barr answered in what CNN calls "less than fully forthcoming".

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is concerned President Donald Trump will not voluntarily step down unless Democrats win by a "big" enough margin in 2020 that he doesn't contest the results, the New York Times reported Saturday.

Barr testified Wednesday that Mueller didn't challenge the accuracy of his memo summarizing the principal conclusions of the special counsel's report, including when they spoke on the phone.

Democrats picked up a sweeping 40 seats in the 2018 midterms - the largest Democratic House gain since 1974 - to which Pelosi said, 'We had to win'.

Within minutes of Ms Pelosi's comments, Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec called her words "reckless, irresponsible and false".

The special counsel's testimony is highly anticipated following the release of a redacted version of his report on the Russian Federation probe. Trump needed an attorney general who would take his side when Mueller investigation ended.

"I hope he does", he said.

"I think we saw how ridiculous and silly ... his delegation looked yesterday", Sanders said, referring to the Judiciary Committee hearing that began and then abruptly ended on Thursday because Barr did not show up for it.

In a letter to Barr, Nadler set a 9 a.m. ET Monday deadline for him to comply with a subpoena demanding the unredacted document and underlying evidence from the Mueller probe.

Barr, who was appointed by Trump, testified on Wednesday for four hours to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The stand-off heightened tensions sparked by Mr Trump's refusal to comply with House investigations, with some senior Democrats hinting a continued blockade could nudge them closer to impeachment.

Barr has stunned many who gave him the benefit of the doubt by declaring Trump fully cleared of accusations of collusion with Russian Federation and obstruction of justice.

In her letter, Harris also points to details in Mueller's report where he notes three occasions on which the President called for an investigation into former presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton.

Barr canceled his House testimony after clashing with Nadler over the hearing's format, particularly having staff lawyers question him in addition to committee members.

Flood also said Mueller's 448-page report suffered from "an extraordinary legal defect" by failing to determine whether Trump had committed the crime of obstruction of justice.

  • Jon Douglas