House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday declined to answer a reporter’s question about an assertion by Attorney General William P. Barr, saying he had lied to Congress and that she would no longer address “anything more that he has to say.”
Her comments came a day after Barr suggested House Democrats were trying “to create some kind of public spectacle” by requiring former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to testify next week about possible obstruction of justice by President Trump.
“I don’t even want to address him,” Pelosi said when asked about Barr’s assertion. “He has lied to Congress as the attorney general of the United States. He’s lied under oath. I’m not speaking to anything more that he has to say.”
Pelosi’s accusations against Barr are rooted in his appearance at House Appropriations subcommittee hearing in April. Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.) asked Barr about media reports that members of Mueller’s team were frustrated by a summary Barr had produced of their findings from the investigation into interference by Russia in the 2016 election.
Barr said he did not know what they were referencing. It was later reported that Barr had received a phone call and letter from Mueller two weeks earlier outlining his concerns.
A spokeswoman for Barr did not immediately respond to a request for reaction to Pelosi’s comments on Tuesday.
When Pelosi made a similar accusation in May, the Justice Department characterized it as “reckless, irresponsible, and false.”
On Monday, Barr fielded questions from reporters after touring a prison in South Carolina, including one about Mueller’s scheduled appearances next week before two House committees. Democrats are expected to press Mueller about whether Trump sought to obstruct his investigation.
Barr acknowledged he had previously said he did not object to Mueller testifying.
“But after I said that, he indicated that he was not interested in testifying, and he held a press conference and issued a press statement making it clear that his testimony really was the report itself and that it wasn’t going to go beyond the report,” Barr said.
He was “disappointed” Democrats had issued subpoenas to compel Mueller’s testimony.
“It seems to me the only reason for doing that is to create some kind of public spectacle, and if Bob decides he doesn’t want to be subject to that, then the Department of Justice would certainly back him,” Barr said.
Erica Werner and Matt Zapotosky contributed to this report.