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Barr: The allegation I lied to Congress is 'laughable'

POLITICO logo POLITICO 5/17/2019 By Caitlin Oprysko
a man wearing a suit and tie looking at the camera: Attorney General William Barr reportedly said he's not concerned about a contempt of Congress vote. © Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images Attorney General William Barr reportedly said he's not concerned about a contempt of Congress vote.

Attorney General William Barr is making clear he’s not losing sleep over Democrats’ strident opposition to his job performance.

In an interview with Fox News that aired Friday, Barr said he wasn’t worried about the near certainty that the House will vote to hold him in contempt of Congress, nor was he concerned about accusations he lied to lawmakers, chalking the matter up to partisan politics.

“I think it's a laughable charge and I think it's largely being made to try to discredit me partly because they may be concerned about the outcome of a review of what happened during the election,” he told the network’s Bill Hemmer.

Last month, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused Barr of being dishonest in congressional testimony when he said he was unaware of any issues special counsel Robert Mueller had with his handling of the report, despite having received a letter and speaking with Mueller personally.

Barr dismissed those allegations Friday: “Obviously you can look at the face of my testimony and see on its face there is nothing inaccurate about it.”

The attorney general said he was expecting opposition from Democrats when he accepted the job, adding that “I thought I was in a position where this kind of criticism really wouldn't bother me very much.”

Not only did Barr say he wasn’t concerned about potentially being held in contempt for not releasing an unredacted version of the Mueller report, he said he wasn’t caught off guard by the move. He also said despite the animosity from Democrats — several have called for his resignation, while others have called for his impeachment — he wouldn't be shifting his approach.

“It's part of the usual political circus that's being played out,” he said. “It doesn't surprise me.”

Barr has taken fire from Democrats with a lighthearted touch, joking last week that he may have set a record for being charged with contempt in the first 100 days on the job. Earlier in the week, he reportedly ribbed Pelosi at an event honoring fallen first responders, asking her if she had brought her handcuffs with her.

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