Democrats blast Barr over rollout of Mueller report

Attorney General William Barr plans to hold a press conference before releasing a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller's highly anticipated report.
4:14 | 04/18/19

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Transcript for Democrats blast Barr over rollout of Mueller report
the white house, congress and the press are all bracing for the release of Robert Mueller's report. The justice department right there, attorney general William Barr expected to send his version to congress this morning, and Democrats blasting his decision to hold a press conference before congress and the Republicans see the report. Our senior congressional correspondent Mary Bruce starts us off. Reporter: There is outrage and frustration here in Washington this morning. The release of the Mueller report has been nearly two years in the making, and now with just hours to go until that redacted version is finally made publics there is a new political fight about the rollout. They are accusing the attorney general of doing the president's partisan bidding and they are demanding that Barr cancel his press conference. Attorney general Barr coming forward to discuss the redacted version of the Mueller report before lawmakers and the public have even seen it. Democrats are fuming, questioning the attorney general's Independence. The chairman of the house judiciary committee accuing him of waging a campaign on behalf of the president. He is trying to bake in the narrative about the report to the benefit of the white house. Reporter: Barr has promised transparency, but just a week ago he told congress he couldn't discuss the report further until it was made public for all to see. I'm not going to say anything more about it until the report is out and everyone has a chance to look at it. Reporter: Democrats are also concerned that the president was given a heads-up. As ABC was first to report the white house has been briefed, but only on the broad strokes of the report, something the president hinted at in a radio interview ahead of the press conference. You will see a lot of strong things come out tomorrow. Attorney general Barr will be giving a press conference. Maybe I'll do one after that. We'll see. Reporter: And George, Democrats are now taking things a step further. In a statement just now, chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi say that Barr's handling of this report has led to a crisis of confidence in his Independence, and they say the only way to restore the public's trust in this investigation is for Mueller himself to come and testify before congress as soon as possible, George. Mary, thanks very much. Let's bring in our chief legal analyst, Dan Abrams, and begin with the fight over how it's released. Right now it is unusual for the justice department to do a press conference before they put out the underlying documents. For two reasons. First of all, because the way this works is when the justice department has an announcement, they take a document, they release it either beforehand or the at the time of their press conference and then answer questions. Here no one's going to be able to see it, and the second point is that, you know, there is an argument to be made that he's going to explain the process. He's going to talk about how he did what he did, except he has already explained that to us. We heard it in the congressional testimony. He has explained the color coding, the four areas of redactions. There is nothing new about how he is going to go about the process that we could learn from a press conference. What will be new today is what we learn about what evidence Robert Mueller found about obstruction of justice and why he chose not to make a prosecutorial decision. Number one, what is the evidence of obstruction that led Robert Mueller to say, I can't exonerate? We know Robert Mueller concluded there is no evidence of conspiracy with the Russians. He couldn't establish one. That's fair. He could not establish a case that there is a conspiracy to influence the election with the Russians, but that doesn't mean that there weren't conversations with the Russians. That doesn't mean that the Russians as we know did outreach. What was the response? There is a lot of detail there still to come, and for me, the most important legal question is going to be, did Robert Mueller cite the office of legal counsel opinion that you can't indict a sitting president when deciding not to decide? That would suggest he wanted this to be turned over to Correct. Correct. And he was not punting this to attorney general Barr, but that he was saying in effect, look. I can't indict him anyway. That would be a very important statement from Robert Mueller. You'll be here all day to analyze.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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