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Val Demings joins call for William Barr to resign

Charlie Crist: Barr ‘failed to honestly answer questions.’

Democratic U.S. Rep. Val Demings on Wednesday joined a growing call of militant Democrats for U.S. Attorney General William Barr to resign based on reports that he did not tell the truth in testimony to her Congressional committee last month.

Demings, of Orlando, is on the House Judiciary Committee, where Barr is slated to testify Thursday after reports that Russia probe Special Counsel Robert Mueller wrote him and spoke with him about his final report, something Barr had denied when asked pointedly about that by Democratic U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist of St. Petersburg last month.

The Washington Post reported late Tuesday that Mueller sent Barr a letter and talked with him prior to that hearing, to complained that Barr’s March 24 summary memo to Congress did not capture the context of the full investigative report. The New York Times published a similar report Wednesday.

On Wednesday Demings, a former Orlando Police Chief, blasted Barr in some of the strongest language offered by Democrats, contending he has violated his oath of office  and should resign.

“Mr. Barr, the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, has disgraced his oath, choosing to protect the president while betraying his duty to the American people,” Demings declared in a statement issued by her office.

“Mr. Barr’s four-page summary of the Mueller report was devised to deceive the American people. Mr. Barr’s press conference imitated the deceptive talking points of the President’s lawyers instead of the honesty and integrity expected of a public servant. Mr. Barr’s congressional testimony, we now know, included at least two statements which were purposefully misleading if not outright lies. It is impossible to defend the indefensible,” she continued.

“The U.S. Attorney General must be the people’s lawyer. I gave Mr. Barr the benefit of the doubt and hoped that he would follow his oath of office. He has not done so. Mr. Barr should do the last honorable thing available to him and resign,” Demings concluded.

For his part, Crist tweeted Wednesday that he looks forward to hearing more from Barr.

“AG Barr failed a fundamental test when he failed to honestly answer questions before Congress regarding the #MuellerReport,” Crist tweeted. “I look forward to hearing his reasoning at this morning’s Senate hearing.”

Barr testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday.

The House Judiciary Committee has approved a motion to allow congressional staff to question Barr, and there are indications that Barr may object and not appear.

In her call for Barr’s resignation, Demings was joined Wednesday by similar calls from at least a half-dozen other House members, plus some Democratic U.S. Senators, as well as several Democrats running for president.

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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