Mueller Has Spoken: Barr Misrepresented His Report

After 22 months of silence, we have learned that Robert Mueller told Attorney General William Barr that he misrepresented his report to the American people.

Left: President Donald Trump shaking Attorney General William Barr's hand. Right: Special Counsel Robert Mueller (DOJ/AP)

Left: President Donald Trump shaking Attorney General William Barr’s hand. Right: Special Counsel Robert Mueller (DOJ/AP)

Anyone who has read Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s 448-page report knows Attorney General William Barr misled the American people about its findings. Now, we know that Mueller also believes that’s the case.

The Washington Post, along with several other news organizations, have reported that after Barr released his March 24 summary of the report, Mueller sent him a letter essentially claiming that Barr misrepresented his findings:

“The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office’s work and conclusions… There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation. This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations.”

The letter also reportedly requested that Barr release the executive summaries that the Special Counsel’s Office crafted themselves – Mueller even went as far as to suggest redactions. There was also a subsequent 15-minute phone call where Mueller reportedly told Barr he “was concerned that news coverage of the obstruction investigation was misguided and creating public misunderstandings about the office’s work.”

To be fair, Department of Justice officials claimed that on the call Mueller did not say he felt the summary was inaccurate, although the letter itself appears to make clear that is not the case. What we do know is that Barr never followed Mueller’s suggestion to immediately release his executive summaries – which were later released with the redacted report. Barr subsequently lied to Congress about whether he knew if Mueller supported his conclusion.

This comes after members of Mueller’s team reportedly told associates they felt Barr downplayed their findings in early April. Barr’s initial March 24 summary downplayed evidence of collusion and preemptively cleared President Trump of obstruction of justice when the report explicitly says that decision should be left to Congress. After we saw the full redacted version of the report on April 18, we know how much Barr misrepresented the findings.

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Let’s look at the facts. In a nutshell, the full redacted report details how Donald Trump and his associates were receptive to Russia’s election help and President Trump’s subsequent efforts to obstruct the federal investigation into that conduct. While the report reflected poorly on Donald Trump and his associates, it was also bad for Barr’s reputation.

The report also proves that Barr materially mischaracterized the report in some key areas. In his press conference on the morning of April 18, Barr repeatedly claimed that Mueller found “no collusion.” That is false. Mueller did not find a criminal conspiracy. Mueller’s report outlines over 100 pages worth of collusion evidence.

Barr also claimed that the Office of Legal Counsel’s memo which argued a sitting president cannot be indicted didn’t factor into Mueller’s decision-making. Mueller explicitly says it was a factor. Barr also omitted the following from his summary which indicated Trump wasn’t found guilty of a criminal conspiracy with Russia: “…the Campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts.”

After the new reporting today, Presidential Candidate Julian Castro tweeted “Attorney General Barr willfully misled the American people to cover up attempted crimes by Donald Trump. He should resign his position or face an impeachment inquiry immediately.” Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) echoed this sentiment on MSNBC’s All In With Chris Hayes. House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) called for Mueller to testify. This comes as Barr’s appearance before the House Judiciary Committee remains in question as Barr might refuse to show. Needless to say, Barr’s testimony before the Republican-led Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday morning just got more interesting.

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News // Donald Trump / Robert Mueller / Russia Investigation / William Barr