The US attorney general has defended his handling of the Russia inquiry amid complaints he misrepresented the special counsel’s findings.
William Barr appeared before a Senate panel to defend his removal of parts of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report to protect sensitive information.
His testimony comes after revelations that Mr Mueller expressed frustration over the summary of the report.
Mr Mueller is expected to testify to Congress later this month.
Mr Barr’s summary said there was no collusion between Russia and President Donald Trump’s campaign in the 2016 election, but it did not exonerate the president of obstruction of justice.
The attorney general said on Wednesday he was surprised Mr Mueller did not reach a conclusion on whether the president had tried to obstruct justice, but that he was “absolutely” confident in his decision that Mr Trump did not commit a crime.
A letter sent from Mr Mueller to Mr Barr in March, revealed just before the hearing on Wednesday, showed the special counsel had written to him to express frustration over Mr Barr’s four-page summary of the report.
Mr Mueller, who twice requested that Mr Barr reveal more information about his investigation’s conclusions, said the summary “did not fully capture the context, nature and substance” of the report, and caused “public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation”.
Democrats claim the summary, which was released nearly a month before the full report, allowed President Donald Trump to wrongly claim that he had been exonerated by its findings.