Attorney General is set to to be grilled by Senate Democrats in a hearing set for Wednesday morning regarding the release of the Mueller report, and a new explosive article from The Washington Post will do him no favors.
According to the new report, special investigator Robert Mueller contacted Barr by letter and phone after the attorney general released his own summary of Mueller’s investigation in March. Mueller reportedly felt that Barr’s summation did not capture the “context, nature, and substance” of the investigation’s 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,” Mueller reportedly said. “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 reportedly wanted executive summaries from his own office to be released to the public.
Department of Justice spokesperson Kerri Kupec told Fox News in a statement that Mueller’s words never attacked the accuracy of Barr’s summary.
“After the Attorney General received Special Counsel Mueller’s letter, he called him to discuss it,” Kupec said. “In a cordial and professional conversation, the Special Counsel emphasized that nothing in the Attorney General’s March 24 letter was inaccurate or misleading. But, he expressed frustration over the lack of context and the resulting media coverage regarding the Special Counsel’s obstruction analysis. They then discussed whether additional context from the report would be helpful and could be quickly released.”
Kupec added that Barr released his own summary because he felt it was more “productive.”
“The Attorney General ultimately determined that it would not be productive to release the report in piecemeal fashion. The Attorney General and the Special Counsel agreed to get the full report out with necessary redactions as expeditiously as possible,” he said. “The next day, the Attorney General sent a letter to Congress reiterating that his March 24 letter was not intended to be a summary of the report, but instead only stated the Special Counsel’s principal conclusions, and volunteered to testify before both Senate and House Judiciary Committees on May 1st and 2nd.”
The new report from The Washington Post already has Democrats circling the wagons and preparing to use the information as foundation for questions for Barr.
Before the Post report was released, 12 Democrat senators had already called for the Justice Department’s inspector general and the Office of Professional Responsibility to launch an investigation into Barr’s handling of the release of the Mueller report.
Reacting to the Post report, presidential candidate Julian Castro wrote on Twitter, “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.”
Check out some other reactions below:
Whoa, Special Counsel Robert Mueller says that Attorney General Bill Barr mischaracterized his report.
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) April 30, 2019
This is huge. There has been much debate on AG Barr's role in setting the narrative that Mueller cleared President Trump of collusion and obstruction of justice. Now we know Mueller, a Republican, agreed with many including many Dems who said Barr mischaracterized his report.
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) April 30, 2019
Besides testifying before the Senate on Wednesday, Barr has also been invited to appear before the House Judiciary panel on Thursday. The Justice Department has said the attorney general will not appear due to the insistence that he be questioned by lawyers, instead of members of Congress.
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