Read The Letter Mueller Wrote Bill Barr, Because He Had Some Complaints
A new letter released by the House Judiciary Committee has revealed that Special Counsel Robert Mueller expressed concern with Attorney General Bill Barr's summary of the Mueller report. In the letter, Mueller writes that Barr's letter "did not full capture the context, nature, and substance of" his office's "work and conclusions."
The letter's release came just before Barr was scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. During that hearing, Barr faced questions about the Mueller report, a redacted version of which Barr's office released in April, per The New York Times.
The Washington Post reports that Mueller and Barr spoke on the phone the day after the attorney general received the letter. Per The Post, Mueller expressed concern that the public wasn't fully understanding the part of the report that dealt with obstruction of justice.
"In a cordial and professional conversation, the Special Counsel emphasized that nothing in the Attorney General’s March 24 letter was inaccurate or misleading," a Justice Department spokesperson told The Post on Tuesday. "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."
Read the full letter, dated March 27, below:
Dear Attorney General Barr:
I previously sent you a letter dated March 25, 2019, that enclosed the introduction and executive summary for each volume of the Special Counsel’s report marked with redactions to remove any information that potentially could be protected by Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e); that concerned declination decisions; or that related to a charged case. We also had marked an additional two sentences for review and have now confirmed that these sentences can be released publicly.
Accordingly, the enclosed documents are in a form that can be released to the public consistent with legal requirements and Department policies. I am requesting that you provide these materials to Congress and authorize their public release at this time.
As we stated in our meeting of March 5 and reiterated to the Department 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. We communicated that concern to the Department on the morning of March 25. 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. See Department of Justice, Press Release (May 17, 2017).
While we understand that the Department is reviewing the full report to determine what is appropriate for public release — a process that our Office is working with you to complete — that process need not delay release of the enclosed materials. Release at this time would alleviate the misunderstandings that have arisen and would answer congressional and public questions about the nature and outcome of our investigation. It would also accord with the standard for public release of notifications to Congress cited in your letter. See 28 C.F.R 609 (c) (“the Attorney General may determine that public release” of congressional notifications “would be in the public interest”).
Robert S. Mueller III