Investigators who worked on special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election say Attorney General William Barr’s four-page summary of their 400-page report did not accurately reflect its findings — which are much more troubling for Donald Trump than the attorney general has suggested.
Sources that spoke to the New York Times and the Washington Post said the investigators have been privately venting their frustrations with the summary released by Barr on March 24 that claimed there was not enough evidence to prove Trump obstructed justice.
“It was much more acute than Barr suggested,” one source told the Post about the evidence they gathered about obstruction, while declining to say exactly what the evidence was. The Times' sources say the report could be problematic for the president as it examines Trump’s efforts to thwart the investigation.
Mueller’s team were also disappointed that the information they had prepared for public consumption was not released.
“There was immediate displeasure from the team when they saw how the attorney general had characterized their work instead,” one U.S. official told the Post.
Investigators fear that the public’s opinion has been shaped by Barr’s summary and that all the work that went into the two-year investigation will not be given sufficient attention.
Barr’s summary has been used by Trump and fellow Republicans as evidence that their claims the entire investigation was a “witch hunt” were true.
According to Justice Department officials cited by the Times, Barr was frustrated by the Mueller team’s decision not to come to a conclusion about whether Trump was guilty or not of obstruction — leaving it up to Barr and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, to make the call.
While Trump has yet to react to the news reports, his lawyer Rudy Giuliani labeled the Times' reporting “as accurate as the NYT saying Mueller’s staff didn’t leak.”
Barr has said he aims to release the full report by mid-April and that he needs time to redact sensitive information. On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee said that was not good enough and voted to authorize a subpoena for the unredacted Mueller report and its underlying materials. However, House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler said he would hold off on actually issuing the subpoena for the moment.
“The department is wrong to try to withhold that information from this committee. Congress is entitled to all the evidence,” Nadler said.
Cover Image: Special counsel Robert Mueller departs after a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 21, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)