Dem Senator: ‘Many’ Republicans Have ‘Privately Expressed’ that Barr Misrepresented the Mueller Report

A Democratic U.S. Senator from Delaware made a couple of claims Monday on CNN about what Republican lawmakers are saying behind the scenes about obstruction of justice and U.S. Attorney General William Barr.

According to Sen. Chris Coons (D-Delaware), “many” Republicans have “privately expressed” a couple of things: 1) concerns about the differences between Barr’s characterization of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report and the actual report; 2) if President Donald Trump were not the president the details of the Mueller Report would likely be seen as “reprehensible conduct that would rise to the level of obstruction of justice.”

“Those who have read the Mueller report cannot avoid the conclusion that the President and some of his absolutely poor advisers engaged in profoundly disappointing, reprehensible conduct that would rise to the level of obstruction of justice if he were anyone other than the President,” Coons told CNN on Monday.

Coons said that he’s had private conversations that lead him to believe that there are Republicans who found the details of Trump’s conduct “reprehensible” — still, they cannot or will not say so publicly.

“There are very few who would be able to say publicly that this conduct is reprehensible for a president,” Coons added. Coons would further say that there isn’t one Republican senator he knows who would “vote to remove the president.”

Then the focus shifted to Republicans’ assessment of William Barr’s handling of the Mueller Report. Coons claims that “many” believe Barr misled the public about the details of the report.

“Many have privately expressed concerns about what was revealed in the Mueller report in part because of the gap between what Attorney General Barr characterized what was in the Mueller report and what was actually in the Mueller report, for those who have taken the time to read through it,” Coons said.

The comments from Coons come not long after libertarian-Republican Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) logged on Twitter on Saturday and declared that the Mueller Report detailed impeachable offenses. He is the first Republican member of Congress to do so. Amash made it clear that he believes Trump violated the public’s trust.

“In fact, Mueller’s report identifies multiple examples of conduct satisfying all the elements of obstruction of justice, and undoubtedly any person who is not the president of the United States would be indicted based on such evidence,” Amash said. “Under our Constitution, the president ‘shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.’ While ‘high Crimes and Misdemeanors’ is not defined, the context implies conduct that violates the public trust.”

But the Amash criticism also said that Barr misrepresented the Mueller Report. In emphasizing his point, Amash referred to his own analysis as his “principal conclusions,” a clear reference to Barr’s four-page later on Mueller’s “principal conclusions.”

“In comparing Barr’s principal conclusions, congressional testimony, and other statements to Mueller’s report, it is clear that Barr intended to mislead the public about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s analysis and findings,” Amash said. “Barr’s misrepresentations are significant but often subtle, frequently taking the form of sleight-of-hand qualifications or logical fallacies, which he hopes people will not notice.”

“Contrary to Barr’s portrayal, Mueller’s report reveals that President Trump engaged in specific actions and a pattern of behavior that meet the threshold for impeachment,” he added.

The president responded by calling Amash a “total lightweight who opposes me and some of our great Republican ideas and policies just for the sake of getting his name out there through controversy.”

Some have noted that this kind of response from the president is why Republicans say these things in private.

[Image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]

Matt Naham is managing editor of Law&Crime. He formerly worked as news editor and weekend editor at Rare.

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