Attorney General William Barr fired back at CBS reporter Paula Reid who suggested during Thursday’s press conference that he was going to great lengths to protect President Donald Trump.
Reid, an attorney-turned-White-House-correspondent, began by questioning whether Barr had intentionally gone out of his way to build protections into his summary for the president. (RELATED: Dems Furious That Barr Will Hold Press Conference Before Mueller Report Is Sent To Congress)
“Democrats have questioned some of the process here,” Reid started. “[A] Republican-appointed judge on Tuesday said you have created an environment that caused a significant part of the American public to be concerned about these redactions.”
She then argued that Barr cleared the president on obstruction. Reid also pointed out the fact that Trump is now fundraising on the attorney general’s comments from last week’s budget hearing when he voiced his belief that the Trump campaign was spied on.
“Here, you have remarks quite generous to the president and his feelings and emotions. What do you say to people on both sides of the aisle who are concerned you are trying to protect the president?” Reid asked.
“Actually, the statements about his sincere beliefs are recognized in the report,” Barr responded. “I’m not sure what your basis is for saying that I am being generous to the president.”
“You faced an unprecedented situation,” Reid continued. “It just seems like there’s a lot of effort to say — to acknowledge — that this was difficult — ”
“Well, is there another precedent for it?” Barr interrupted.
“No, but it’s unusual — ”
“So unprecedented is an accurate description, isn’t it?”
Barr noted during the press conference that he was not drawing his own conclusions, but making judgments based on the conclusions reached by special counsel Robert Mueller and his team. He also made it clear that he had no problem with Mueller being asked to testify in person before Congress.