Patterico's Pontifications


Mueller: Barr’s Letter “Did Not Fully Capture the Context, Nature, and Substance” of Mueller’s Report

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:46 pm


Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III wrote a letter in late March complaining to Attorney General William P. Barr that a four-page memo to Congress describing the principal conclusions of the investigation into President Trump “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of Mueller’s work, according to a copy of the letter reviewed Tuesday by The Washington Post.

The letter and a subsequent phone call between the two men reveal the degree to which the longtime colleagues and friends disagreed as they handled the legally and politically fraught task of investigating the president. Democrats in Congress are likely to scrutinize Mueller’s complaints to Barr as they contemplate the prospect of opening impeachment proceedings and mull how hard to press for Mueller himself to testify publicly.

Oh, and by the way:

The letter made a key request: that Barr release the 448-page report’s introductions and executive summaries, and it made initial suggested redactions for doing so, according to Justice Department officials.

Barr did not do that. The executive summaries are far more damning than Barr’s letter. They would have been easy to release. But Barr chose not to. Draw your own conclusions.

The spin (which I’m seeing everywhere) is that “Mueller’s complaint was only about the media!!!” — based on this passage from the article:

A day after Mueller sent his letter to Barr, the two men spoke by phone for about 15 minutes, according to law enforcement officials.

In that call, Mueller said he was concerned that media coverage of the obstruction investigation was misguided and creating public misunderstandings about the office’s work, according to Justice Department officials. Mueller did not express similar concerns about the public discussion of the investigation of Russia’s election interference, the officials said. Barr has testified previously he did not know whether Mueller supported his conclusion on obstruction.

When Barr pressed Mueller on whether he thought Barr’s memo to Congress was inaccurate, Mueller said he did not but felt that the media coverage of it was misinterpreting the investigation, officials said.

That spin ignores the quote from Mueller’s letter saying Barr’s letter “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of his work. That’s not a complaint about the media. (Plus, the second passage above is based on DoJ officials working for Barr, not a quote from the letter.)

We have the report now, but Barr’s spin reflects on his credibility.

I’m not really interested in reading comments about this.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back, where comments are open but comments that do not follow the rules there will get nuked.]

Rosenstein Resigns

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:11 am


In his resignation letter to Trump, Rosenstein praised the president for his personal charm and policy goals. “As I submit my resignation effective on May 11, I am grateful to you for the opportunity to serve; for the courtesy and humor you often display in our personal conversations; and for the goals you set in your inaugural address: patriotism, unity, safety, education, and prosperity, because ‘a nation exists to serve its citizens,’ ” Rosenstein wrote.

He ended his letter with a sentence that asserted the Justice Department’s independence, before closing with a phrase from Trump’s campaign: “We keep the faith, we follow the rules, and we always put America first.”

Here’s an example of Trump’s courtesy and humor, as well as putting the rules first:

Courtesy! Rule following! It’s what Trump is all about.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

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