MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt Asks Pelosi if Barr Should ‘Go to Jail’

During a press conference Thursday morning, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was asked by MSNBC correspondent Kasie Hunt if Attorney General William Barr had committed perjury when he testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday and whether he “should go to jail for it.”

“Speaker Pelosi is now pouring fuel on the fire, saying Attorney General William Barr broke the law in his Senate testimony,” anchor Andrea Mitchell excitedly proclaimed at the top of her 12 p.m. ET hour show. Moments later, Mitchell gushed over Hunt’s questions to Pelosi during the presser: “Kasie, first to you, because it was your – your question to the House Speaker – let’s play that – your question to the House Speaker that brought her reaction.”

 

 

A clip ran of the earlier exchange in which Hunt asked: “Madame Speaker, did the Attorney General commit a crime?” After Pelosi asserted that Barr “lied to Congress,” the reporter eagerly followed up: “Should he go to jail for it?” Pelosi dodged: “There’s a process involved here and as I said, I’ll say it again, however many questions you have, the Committee will act upon how we will proceed.”

Mitchell noted that even the Democratic leader seemed taken aback by Hunt’s question: “I think you almost stumped her. There was quite a pause there, Kasie.” Hunt proudly agreed: “Yeah, you know, it was pretty remarkable, Andrea.”

While claiming that Pelosi had been “very measured in how she has approached these investigations,” Hunt argued that “clearly Attorney General Barr has crossed some sort of line with her.” The reporter explained the supposed case for perjury:

...the exchange, specifically that William Barr had with [Florida Congressman] Charlie Crist [during an April 9 hearing]  around questions of whether or not Robert Mueller had any problem with the way that Barr had sort of released first that summary, before he ultimately gave the redacted report to the public.

We now know, because of that letter from Mueller, which was in March, that Mueller did in fact have a problem with how that played out and the question from Crist was answered by Barr as saying, “You know, no, he didn’t have any problem with this.”

Hunt observed that, as a result, Pelosi “was very clear and unequivocal in saying that he lied to Congress and it was in response to, of course, the frame of the question about a crime.” She further declared: “I think that her answer reflects the deep anger and frustration inside the Democratic caucus toward the Attorney General....Nancy Pelosi is a tough enemy to have.”

It’s easy for Democrats like Pelosi to accuse Republican cabinet officials of being criminals when the media are ready and willing to tee up the attack.

Here is a transcript of the May 2 segment on Andrea Mitchell Reports:

12:01 PM ET

ANDREA MITCHELL: Speaker Pelosi is now pouring fuel on the fire, saying Attorney General William Barr broke the law in his Senate testimony. This as House Democrats say they are giving the Attorney General one last chance to deliver – to deliver the unredacted Mueller report to Congress before they move to hold Barr in contempt.

(...)
    
12:03 PM ET

MITCHELL: Kasie, first to you, because it was your – your question to the House Speaker – let’s play that – your question to the House Speaker that brought her reaction. I want to play that tape.

KASIE HUNT: Madame Speaker, did the Attorney General commit a crime?

NANCY PELOSI: He lied to Congress. He lied to Congress. If anybody else did that, it would be considered a crime. Nobody is above the law.

HUNT: Should he go to jail for it?

PELOSI: There’s a process involved here and as I said, I’ll say it again, however many questions you have, the Committee will act upon how we will proceed.

MITCHELL: I think you almost stumped her. There was quite a pause there, Kasie.

HUNT: Yeah, you know, it was pretty remarkable, Andrea. I mean, the House Speaker has been very careful to be very measured in how she has approached these investigations and how she’s approached this administration to try and make sure that the perception was not that they were overreaching. I mean she’s been trying to send a message, “You know, we’re doing our due diligence, we are doing oversight, we are also doing our – you know, our own agenda and focusing on that as well.”

But clearly Attorney General Barr has crossed some sort of line with her and there had been some reporting that this is what she had said in a private meeting about the exchange, specifically that William Barr had with Charlie Crist around questions of whether or not Robert Mueller had any problem with the way that Barr had sort of released first that summary, before he ultimately gave the redacted report to the public.

We now know, because of that letter from Mueller, which was in March, that Mueller did in fact have a problem with how that played out and the question from Crist was answered by Barr as saying, “You know, no, he didn’t have any problem with this.” And so, you know, she was very clear and unequivocal in saying that he lied to Congress and it was in response to, of course, the frame of the question about a crime.

And you know, the Attorney General, it’s different than being President of the United States. We’ve had how many endless debates about President Trump and whether or not he can be indicted because he’s a sitting president and what that would mean for our system. You know, that obviously has not been a debate that we’ve had yet around this attorney general.

But I think that her answer reflects the deep anger and frustration inside the Democratic caucus toward the Attorney General. And their options are somewhat limited in terms of punishing him, subpoenaing him, holding him in contempt of Congress. But they clearly are trying to figure out something to do. And this is the highest profile back and forth that we have seen between Pelosi and a member of the President’s administration. Her firing down one way along Pennsylvania Avenue, the Department of Justice already firing back at her. You know, they’ve obviously been fighting with Jerry Nadler. Nancy Pelosi is a tough enemy to have, Andrea.

(...)

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