House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that Attorney General William Barr committed a crime when he testified before Congress.
“The attorney general of the United States of America was not telling the truth to the Congress of the United States. That’s a crime,” Pelosi told reporters at her weekly news conference on Capitol Hill.
Barr has come under scrutiny for telling Congress last month that he didn’t know whether special counsel Robert Mueller supported Barr’s description of the report in his summary.
The Justice Department disputed Pelosi’s description minutes after her comments were made. “The baseless attack on the Attorney General is reckless, irresponsible and false,” Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said.
Fallout for William Barr
Pelosi was asked again during the question and answer part of the news conference if Barr committed a crime and if he should go to jail. She said that he “lied to Congress” and “if anybody else did that, it would be considered a crime,” but didn’t directly answer if he should go to jail as a result.
Barr is being criticized and multiple Democrats have called for him to step down following the publicizing of a letter this week where Mueller expresses misgivings over how Barr characterized the findings of the special counsel report in a summary that the attorney general released on March 24. The letter is dated March 27, but Barr told Congress in a pair of hearing in April.
On April 10, in a back and forth between Barr and Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen over Barr’s March 24 summary, the Maryland Democrat asked Barr, “Did Bob Mueller support your conclusion?”
“I don’t know whether Bob Mueller supported my conclusion,” Barr replied.
Pelosi also said Thursday she lost sleep after watching Barr’s testimony Wednesday for the Senate Judiciary Committee and argued Barr, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Donald Trump are “handmaidens” to special interests and right-wing ideology. She also repeatedly called McConnell the “grim reaper” of the Senate for not taking up House bills.
This story has been updated with additional developments Thursday.
CNN’s Laura Jarrett and Holmes Lybrand contributed to this report.