This was the blockbuster that broke late in the day yesterday.
Courtesy of WaPo:
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.
At the time Mueller’s letter was sent to Barr on March 27, Barr had days prior announced that Mueller did not find a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russian officials seeking to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. In his memo to Congress, Barr also said that Mueller had not reached a conclusion about whether Trump had tried to obstruct justice, but that Barr reviewed the evidence and found it insufficient to support such a charge.
Days after Barr’s announcement, Mueller wrote the previously undisclosed private letter to the Justice Department, laying out his concerns in stark terms that shocked senior Justice Department officials, according to people familiar with the discussions.
“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,” Mueller wrote. “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.”
A clearly agitated Mueller requested that Barr release the 448-page report’s introductions and executive summaries and even offered redactions to make that easier.
Part of Mueller’s frustration stemmed from the fact that it was taking Barr too long to release the report to the public, and he wrote that the redaction 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.”
Mueller’s letter, of course, reflects what we heard from some investigators on his team who also expressed frustration with Barr’s obvious attempts to shape the narrative and minimize the impact of what Mueller discovered during his two-year-long investigation.
It is fairly obvious that Barr purposefully misrepresented the contents of the report, and even lied to Congress about not knowing how Mueller felt about his summary.
We now know that he did, in fact, have this letter from Mueller that pretty clearly told him how Mueller felt about his bullshit summary.
Barr is about to testify before the Senate any minute now, so let’s see how this newly revealed Mueller informs the questions posed at least by the Democrats in the hearing.
Update: if you are not watching the Senate hearing with Bill Barr, here is a basic summation from MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace.
Brian Williams and Nicolle Wallace break into @MSNBC‘s coverage again to correct the record on removing vs. firing Mueller.
“We’ve got an A.G. lying about what is in the Mueller report around what was one of the most investigated flashpoints in the obstruction investigation.”
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 1, 2019
Yeah, that about sums it up.