Mueller’s letter to Barr
In late March, Special Counsel Robert Mueller sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr expressing concern about Mr. Barr’s letter to Congress, which outlined the main conclusions of Mr. Mueller’s Russia probe. In his letter, Mr. Mueller said that Mr. Barr’s overview “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of his investigative findings. Further, Mr. Mueller requested that Mr. Barr immediately release the full introductions and executive summaries of his report in order to rectify “public confusion” about his findings.
Mr. Mueller wrote:
As we stated in our meeting of March 5 and reiterated to the Department early in the afternoon of March 24, the introductions and executive summaries of our two-volume report accurately summarize this Office‘s work and conclusions. 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. (Mueller letter 3-27-19)
However, Mr. Barr declined Mr. Mueller’s request. According to a Department of Justice spokeswomen, this was because Mr. Barr did not want to release the report in fragments. Rather, Mr. Barr thought it better to release the entire report all at once.
“The attorney general ultimately determined that it would not be productive to release the report in piecemeal fashion,” Justice Department spokeswoman, Kerri Kupec told The New York Times. Instead, she said, “the attorney general and the special counsel agreed to get the full report out with necessary redactions as expeditiously as possible.”
Barr Under Fire
In recent weeks, Mr. Barr has faced criticism that his initial characterization underplayed the gravity of Mr. Mueller’s findings, especially those related to obstruction of justice. The letter provided evidence that Mr. Mueller and his team agreed. As we post this on Wednesday morning, Mr. Barr was facing questioning about the letter and his handling of the Mueller report from lawmakers at a hearing on Capitol Hill.
You can read Mr. Mueller’s full letter here:
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