White House steps up attacks as release of Mueller report nears

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'My original timetable of being able to release this by mid-April stands....'

Attorney General William Barr has assembled a team at the Justice Department to review how the FBI's counterintelligence investigation into potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation began in 2016, according to a USA official. "I think that from my standpoint, within a week I will be in a position to release the report to the public".

Democrats said they were concerned that a four-page summary letter of the report's main conclusions Barr released last month portrayed the investigation's findings in an overly favorable way for President Donald Trump.

"And when he receives, sometime this week from members of Congress, a criminal referral he will read what they are laying out the facts, the evidence and the law which will initiate, I believe, a criminal investigation by Barr".

Barr was also questioned about the initial Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants approved to surveil members of the Trump campaign.

Secondly, any information that would reveal "intelligence sources and methods", Barr testified.

Barr's statement Wednesday that he expected to release a redacted version of Mueller's almost 400-page report next week marked a slight change from the estimate he gave Tuesday, when he said the release would be within a week.

Barr is to give evidence on the report itself at separate hearings before the Senate and House Judiciary committees on May 1 and 2.

"Even for someone who has done this job before, I would argue it's more suspicious than impressive", Ms Lowey said.

Barr served previously as attorney general in the early 1990s, in the George H.W. Bush administration.

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Barr is appearing before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee one day after he testified before a House subcommittee and answered many - though not all - questions from lawmakers about the release of Mueller's almost 400 page report.

William Barr made the announcement on Tuesday his team will review decisions made by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department during the probe of the Trump campaign.

He asked whether the Justice Department would look into whether the Federal Bureau of Investigation should have sought a court order to conduct surveillance on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. He has also said that Mueller did not reach a conclusion on whether the president obstructed justice, instead presenting evidence on both sides of the question.

"I will consider whatever it takes to get people to see this report", said Representative José Serrano, D, chairman of the Appropriations commerce, justice, science and related agencies subcommittee. Committee Democrats are likely jumping at the chance to pick over the report's grislier details (whatever those might be) with Mueller himself-a potential cable-news soundbite bonanza.

Barr reminded Tuesday's House panel he plans to release Mueller's report "within a week", a fact that has little hope of silencing the mounting accusations of a cover-up that have issued from the anti-Trump "Resistance" ever since the AG released a three-page summary of the report which appeared to exonerate the president of collusion charges without making a clear statement about his guilt on obstruction charges.

"I look forward to reviewing the Mueller report myself", she added later in her remarks.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, a Republican, has said he would be satisfied hearing only from Barr and not Mueller.

Mr Mueller sent his final report to Barr on 22 March, ending his nearly two-year investigation into possible ties between Mr Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and Russian Federation.

Trump seems to have belatedly recognized the political danger.

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