In a March 27 letter to Attorney General William Barr, Special Counsel Robert Mueller complained that the four-page summary of his report released by Barr “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of the report and caused “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,” the special counsel added.
Barr testified to Congress in April, after receiving the letter and speaking with Mueller about his concerns in a telephone call, that he did not know what news reports that Mueller was dissatisfied with his summary were referring to.
“I think any summary regardless of who prepares it not only runs the risk of being underinclusive or overinclusive but also would trigger a lot of discussion and analysis that really should await everything coming out at once,” Barr told the House Appropriations Committee.
The Justice Department downplayed the disagreement in a statement.
“The Special Counsel emphasized that nothing in the Attorney General’s March 24 letter was inaccurate or misleading,” Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said. “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. However, the Attorney General ultimately determined that it would not be productive to release the report in piecemeal fashion.”
Democrats, including House speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff, and House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler said Mueller’s letter proves that Barr misled the public.
“He misled the American people with his inaccurate summary of Mueller’s report,” Schiff said in a tweet. “Then he misled the Congress when he denied knowledge of Mueller’s concerns.”