Robert Mueller's investigators call Bill Barr's report into question

Members of Mueller's team are saying that Bill Barr downplayed the troubling conclusions for Trump in his summary

By Matthew Rozsa

Published April 4, 2019 9:54AM (EDT)

Donald Trump; William Barr; Robert Mueller (AP/Getty/Salon)
Donald Trump; William Barr; Robert Mueller (AP/Getty/Salon)

Individuals who worked with special counsel Robert Mueller are now claiming that Attorney General Bill Barr did not accurately represent the conclusions of the report on potentially illegal activity by President Donald Trump.

Investigators who worked for Mueller claim that "Attorney General William P. Barr failed to adequately portray the findings of their inquiry and that they were more troubling for President Trump than Mr. Barr indicated," according to a report by The New York Times. Although they didn't offer any specifics as to how Barr misrepresented the report's conclusions — presumably because they could not legally do so — it is believed that the report reviewed how Trump had attempted to interfere with the investigation into potential collusion between his presidential campaign and the Russian government.

"It was unclear how much discussion Mr. Mueller and his investigators had with senior Justice Department officials about how their findings would be made public," the Times reported. "It was also unclear how widespread the vexation is among the special counsel team, which included 19 lawyers, about 40 F.B.I. agents and other personnel."

One detail from the Times' article reinforces the conclusion that Mueller didn't exonerate Trump at all, but that Barr took it upon himself to do so:

At the same time, Mr. Barr and his advisers have expressed their own frustrations about Mr. Mueller and his team. Mr. Barr and other Justice Department officials believe the special counsel’s investigators fell short of their task by declining to decide whether Mr. Trump illegally obstructed the inquiry, according to the two government officials. After Mr. Mueller made no judgment on the obstruction matter, Mr. Barr stepped in to declare that he himself had cleared Mr. Trump of wrongdoing.

The American public may have an opportunity to learn more about the Mueller report due to the actions of Democrats in the House of Representatives. On Wednesday the House Judiciary Committee authorized a subpoena of the full, unredacted Mueller report, as well as access to the underlying documents. Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said in a statement that "the Constitution charges Congress with holding the president accountable for alleged official misconduct. That job requires us to evaluate the evidence for ourselves — not the attorney general's summary, not a substantially redacted synopsis, but the full report and the underlying evidence."

One person who supports releasing the full report is one of Russian President Vladimir Putin's biggest enemies, British billionaire Bill Browder, who told Salon earlier this week about the Mueller report that "there's huge resources put into it, and if it was not shown to the American public, then there would be doubts going into perpetuity. And so I think it's in Trump's interest, if he believes he has been vindicated, to share the report with the world so everyone can now share that same feeling."

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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