The Justice Department defends Attorney General William Barr’s four-page letter on the Mueller Report on Trump-Russia links, a day after reports that Mueller’s team are unhappy with Barr covering up their findings.
Given the extraordinary public interest in the matter, the Attorney General decided to release the report’s bottom-line findings and his conclusions immediately — without attempting to summarize the report — with the understanding that the report itself would be released after the redaction process.
Kupec did not explain why Barr failed to use summaries prepared by Mueller’s office for each section of the report, said to be almost 400 pages with hundreds of pages of supplementary material.
The Attorney General wrote legislators on March 24, two days after Mueller submitted the report. He pushed aside any consideration of collusion — such as knowledge and encouragement of Russian intervention in the 2016 election — with a narrow statement over “coordination” and “cooperation”. He quashed any follow-up proceedings over obstructioncof justice, saying Mueller had argued on “both sides” whether Trump was culpable.
In articles published by The New York Times and The Washington Post on Thursday, “Government officials and others familiar with [the Mueller team’s] simmering frustrations” said Barr did not accurately portray the findings and evidence of the investigation.
“It was much more acute than Barr suggested,” said one source. An “official briefed on the matter” said, “There was immediate displeasure from the team when they saw how the attorney general had characterized their work instead.”
On Wednesday, the Democrat-controlled House Judiciary Committee approved subpoena powers for Barr to give legislators unredacted copies of the report and Mueller’s evidence. The Attorney General, having missed an April 2 deadline, says he will release the report in mid-April but with redactions.
Justice Department spokesperson Kupec tried to cover Barr, saying “every page of the confidential report” was marked with a warning that it may contain secret grand jury testimony.
In a letter on Thursday, House Judiciary Committee chair Nadler asked Barr to turn over all communications between Mueller’s office and other Justice Department officials, including discussions about Barr’s summary and the disclosure of the report to Congress or the public.
Kupec declined to comment on Nadler’s letter
Donald Trump, who falsely said Barr’s summary — let alone the Mueller Report — was “EXONERATION”, betrayed his concern on Thursday. He misrepresented the Times account, based on multiple officials connected with the investigation.
The New York Times had no legitimate sources, which would be totally illegal, concerning the Mueller Report. In fact, they probably had no sources at all! They are a Fake News paper who have already been forced to apologize for their incorrect and very bad reporting on me!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 4, 2019
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi linked the demand for release of the Mueller Report to a Democratic request to the Internal Revenue Service for Trump’s tax returns between 2013 and 2018:
Show us the Mueller Report. Show us the tax returns. We’re not walking away because you said “no” the first time around.