Mr Barr would not discuss the substance of Mr Mueller's findings but did explain his process for receiving and reviewing the report.
Barr said "the letter speaks for itself" and revealed that he gave Mueller an opportunity to review the letter, but he declined. If Collins asks Mueller that, and Mueller endorses Barr's handling of the probe, it's hard to see how the cover-up theory could survive it. "While [Barr] can testify surrounding his decision to provide the Committee with principal conclusions, it is Special Counsel Mueller who is best-positioned to testify regarding the underlying facts and material in which you are so interested".
"I think there was probably a failure among a group of leaders there at the upper echelon", Barr said of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and he also signaled a willingness to look into "intelligence agencies more broadly". Barr will likely repeat his announcement on Wednesday in the Republican-controlled Senate Appropriations Committee, where it's likely to gain more traction: Much of the questioning in the Democrat-controlled House committee involved Barr's plan to release the full Mueller report, and its corroborating evidence.
Barr's statement that he expected to release a redacted version of Mueller's almost 400-page report next week marked a slight change from the estimate he gave Tuesday, when he said the release would be within a week.
The new attorney general's budget testimony - traditionally a dry affair, and often addressing the parochial concerns of lawmakers - came as Democrats were enraged that he was redacting material from the report and frustrated that his summary framed a narrative about Mr Trump before they were able to see the full version. He said Democrats are "free to go to court" themselves and ask for the grand jury information. "That should be a serious question that the American people should demand answers for and quite frankly so should Congress".
Barr said that even in providing the full report to Congress, which he said he would do by the end of the week, he still may have to black out some portions for security purposes.
He also said that Mr Mueller did not reach a conclusion on whether the president obstructed justice, instead presenting evidence on both sides of the question. Barr was grilled by Democrats on the handling of that summary, which stated the special counsel found no evidence of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and Russian Federation during the 2016 election.
Right out of the gate, Committee Chairman Rep. José Serrano (D-N.Y.) pressed Barr on why he didn't use the summaries of the Russian Federation report that were created by the Mueller team. While opening the hearing, subcommittee Chairman Jose Serrano of NY called it "the elephant in the room".
Barr, who was nominated to his post by Trump four months ago, was asked about spying by Republican Sen.