Barr Says he Was Surprised by Mueller Decision

Posted May 02, 2019

Special Counsel Robert Mueller complained to the attorney general over his characterization of the Russian Federation probe that allowed President Donald Trump to declare himself cleared of obstruction of justice, USA media reported Tuesday.

Anticipation for Barr's testimony reached new heights late Tuesday when several news outlets, including ABC News, reported that Mueller expressed frustration to the attorney general over the public's interpretation of his investigation when Barr issued a four-page letter describing the report's "principal conclusions" within 48 hours of receiving the special counsel's findings.

Mr Barr wrote in his summary that Mr Mueller did not establish that the Trump campaign colluded with Russian Federation.

If Robert Mueller has a beef with William Barr, the Attorney General has one or two with the special counsel as well.

In fact, Mueller said he didn't make a "traditional" prosecution judgment on obstruction, mainly because he made a decision to abide by a Justice Department policy that says a sitting president can not be indicted.

While Democratic senators bluntly questioned his actions, Republicans, in addition to defending Trump, focused on the president's 2016 Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton's email and campaign practices and what they feel is a lack of investigation of them.

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A congressional subpoena deadline for the Justice Department to provide lawmakers with an unredacted copy of Mueller's report expired at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT).

The attorney general in his prepared remarks to lawmakers defended his decision to write that President Trump did not obstruct justice, a finding that runs counter to Mueller's report.

Addressing another point of criticism, Barr's written testimony explained his conclusion that President Trump had not committed obstruction of justice - even as the Mueller report explicitly "does not exonerate" Trump on the matter. Barr suggested he had not lied because he was in touch with Mueller himself and not his team.

Democrats have accused Mr Barr of trying to spin the report's conclusions to protect Mr Trump.

Mr Mueller is expected to testify to Congress later this month.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller confirmed in a March 27 letter to Attorney General William Barr that the "process need not delay the release" of the executive summaries for Volumes I and II of his Russia Report, as the necessary redactions required by law had already been completed.

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Yet, Barr told U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist on April 9 that he had no such knowledge of any discontent by Mueller or his team.

"I assume somebody wanted to leak [Mueller's letter] to maximize the embarrassment to Barr and to set up the questions for the hearings the next two days", Gingrich, a former Republican Congressman for Georgia, told Fox News host Laura Ingraham on Tuesday night. This threatens to undermine a central goal for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: "to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigation".

Barr and Mueller ultimately agreed to release a full, but partially redacted, version of the report as quickly they could, she said.

Barr's answer to Crist came in a hearing of a House Appropriations subcommittee.

Mark Warner, the Democratic vice chairman of the powerful Senate intelligence committee, said Barr had "lost all credibility".

Will Barr testify before House panel?

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Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler of NY, said Tuesday night that "the special counsel's concerns reflect our own".