Testifying before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Attorney General William Barr said he does not read President Trump’s tweets.
ERIC SWALWELL: Americans from both parties are concerned that in Donald Trump's America there's two systems of justice, one for Mr. Trump and his cronies and another for the rest of us. But that can only happen if you enable it.
At your confirmation hearing, you were asked, do you believe a president could lawfully issue a pardon in exchange for the recipient's promise to not incriminate him? You said, no--
WILLIAM BARR: Not to what?
ERIC SWALWELL: --that would be a crime. You were asked, could a president issue a pardon in exchange for the recipient's promise to not incriminate him? And you responded, no, that would be a crime. Is that right?
WILLIAM BARR: Yes. I said that.
ERIC SWALWELL: You said a crime. You didn't say it'd be wrong. You didn't say it'd be unlawful. You said it would be a crime. And when you said that, that a president swapping a pardon to silence a witness would be a crime, you were promising the American people that if you saw that you would do something about it. Is that right?
WILLIAM BARR: That's right.
ERIC SWALWELL: Now, Mr. Barr, are you investigating Donald Trump for commuting the prison sentence of his longtime friend and political advisor Roger Stone?
WILLIAM BARR: No.
ERIC SWALWELL: Why not?
WILLIAM BARR: Why should I?
ERIC SWALWELL: Well, let's talk about that. Mr. Stone was convicted by a jury on seven counts of lying in the Russia investigation. He bragged that he lied to save Trump's butt. But why would he lie? Your prosecutors, Mr. Barr, told a jury that Stone lied because the truth looked bad for Donald Trump.
And what truth is that? Well, Donald Trump denied in written answers to the Russia investigators that he talked to Roger Stone during the time Roger Stone was in contact with agents of a Russian influence operation.
There's evidence that Trump and Stone indeed did talk during that time. You would agree that it's a federal crime to lie under oath, is that right?
WILLIAM BARR: Yes.
ERIC SWALWELL: It's a crime for you, it's a crime for me, and it's certainly a crime for the President of the United States. Is that right?
WILLIAM BARR: Yes.
ERIC SWALWELL: So if Donald Trump lied to the Mueller investigators, which you agree would be a crime, then Roger Stone was in a position to expose Donald Trump's lies. Are you familiar with the December 3rd, 2018 tweet where Donald Trump said Roger Stone had shown guts by not testifying against him?
WILLIAM BARR: No, I'm not familiar with that.
ERIC SWALWELL: You don't read the president's tweets?
WILLIAM BARR: No.
ERIC SWALWELL: Well, there's a lot of evidence in the president's tweets, Mr. Attorney General. I think you should start reading them. Because he said Mr. Stone showed guts. But on July 10th of this year, Roger Stone declared to a reporter, "I had 29 or 30 conversations with Trump during the campaign period.
Trump knows I was under enormous pressure to turn on him. It would have eased my situation considerably, but I didn't. The prosecutors wanted me to play Judas. I refused." Are you familiar with that Stone statement?
WILLIAM BARR: Actually, I'm not.
ERIC SWALWELL: So how can you sit here and tell us, why should I investigate the President of the United States if you're not even aware of the facts concerning the president using the pardon or commutation power to swap the silence of a witness?
WILLIAM BARR: Because we require, you know, a reliable predicate before we open a criminal investigation.
ERIC SWALWELL: And I just gave to you, sir--
WILLIAM BARR: I don't consider it. I consider it a very Rube Goldberg theory that you have.
ERIC SWALWELL: Well, it sounds like you're hearing this for the first time--
WILLIAM BARR: And, by the way, if I applied this standard, there'd be a lot more people under investigation.
ERIC SWALWELL: Mr. Attorney General, the very same day that Roger Stone said that, Donald Trump--
WILLIAM BARR: That's one of the--
ERIC SWALWELL: --no surprise--
WILLIAM BARR: The true two standards of justice were really during the tail end of the Obama administration.
ERIC SWALWELL: Mr. Attorney General--