U.S.

Maxine Waters Mocks ‘Sycophant’ Barr Ahead of Mueller Report Press Conference

Representative Maxine Waters attacked Attorney General William Barr, calling him a “sycophant” and a “lackey” for President Donald Trump, over his handling of the long-awaited release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report.

Barr is set to send the "lightly redacted" report—on Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and alleged conspiring between the Kremliln and the Trump campaign—to Congress between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. EDT on Thursday, after he holds a press conference about the report, which no one will have yet seen, at 9:30 a.m.

Democrats have demanded access to Mueller’s full report with its underlying evidence ever since he submitted it to the Department of Justice on March 22. Barr released a four-page summary letter that he said reflected the investigation's main findings, which has been dismissed as Barr's own take on the findings.

The summary stated that the special counsel's investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia to influence the 2016 election. On the question of obstruction of justice, the special counsel did not draw a conclusion on whether Trump had committed a crime, but that his report did not exonerate Trump, despite the president's repeated claims of "total exoneration." 

Representative Jerrold Nadler, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, warned that by releasing Mueller’s findings to Congress only after his press conference, the attorney general was protecting the White House and giving the president valuable time to shape the narrative around the report.

“I never expected Barr to do anything that would be respectful to the members of Congress or to include us in any real way,” Waters—who chairs the House Financial Services Committee—told Chris Hayes on MSNBC Wednesday. “He auditioned for this job, he was chosen to protect the president of the United States and that's exactly what he's doing.

“I'm not surprised, I'm not even disgusted,” Waters added. “I knew that once he came out and he said there had been no obstruction of justice and that there'd been no collusion that he absolutely stepped out early to defend the president.”

Though he is releasing the report with "light redactions," according to The Washington Post, Waters said she expected no reversal of Barr's continuing to protect Trump “I expect him to continue to play the role. He is basically a lackey and a sycophant for the president of the United States of America.”

Despite the report of "light redactions," Waters said she expected Barr would use them as a way to protect Trump, who nominated him for the Department of Justice post in December 2018.

“This report is going to be overly redacted and I don't know if we're going to get anything new or important out of that,” Waters said.

Democrats have also floated the prospect of calling Mueller to testify before a congressional committee as a way to counter  Department of Justice and White House obfuscation. “I hope that Mueller will come before the committee and have a chance to tell his side of what he has done,” Waters told Hayes. “This president and his minions are absolutely ridiculous and they disrespect the members of Congress.”

Waters, who has long been a proponent of impeaching the president, added that Trump should “have been gotten rid of already.” She told Hayes, “There is no answer to how we should be dealing with him except impeachment… The president is guilty of so many things…he doesn't deserve to be the president of the United States, he is overseeing a criminal enterprise. We've never seen anything like this.”

Maxine Waters Bill Barr Mueller report House Financial Services Committee Chairman Maxine Waters speaks during a hearing on Capitol Hill on April 9, in Washington, D.C. Zach Gibson/Getty Images

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