William Barr: Special counsel Mueller declined offer to read controversial memo

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WASHINGTON – Attorney General William Barr told a Senate panel that Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III declined an offer to review a memo Barr wrote that some said summarized the findings of Mueller’s 400-plus page report on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

“We were not trying to summarize the 410-page report. So I offered Bob Mueller the opportunity to review that letter before it went out and he declined,” Barr said Wednesday morning at a Senate Judiciary Committee at a hearing.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday night that Mueller wrote Barr to notify him he had misgivings about the contents of Barr’s four-page memo. Congress released the letter this morning. Barr’s memo was sent to the chair and ranking members of the House and Senate Judiciary committees on March 24.

Barr said he later followed-up with Mueller and was told the memo was accurate but that the special counsel was dismayed about how it was being reported.

“I asked him (Mueller) if he was suggesting that the March 24th letter was inaccurate and he said no, but that the press reporting had been inaccurate. But he (Mueller) was very clear with me that he was not suggesting that we had misrepresented his report.”

The Department of Justice released a redacted version of the report on April 18.

The report said Mueller did not find any evidence of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and Russian officials. Mueller did not make a determination as to whether obstruction had occurred.

Barr, who relayed the report’s findings at a news conference about 90 minutes before the release, said he felt surprised when the special counsel’s office informed him in early March that they would not make a determination on obstruction of justice.

“We were, frankly, surprised by that they were not going to reach a decision on obstruction. And we asked them a lot about the reasoning behind this and the basis for this,” he said.

Prior to Barr’s testimony, Chairman Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California, each gave their assessment of the report.

“I appreciate very much what Mr. Mueller did for the country. I have read most of the report. For me, it is over,” Graham said.

Feinstein said more investigation is needed and called on Mueller to testify before Congress.

This article is republished with permission from Talk Media News