- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Special counsel Robert Mueller sent a letter expressing concern over Attorney General William P. Barr’s initial summary of the investigation into Russia, President Trump and the 2016 election, the Justice Department confirmed Tuesday.

Mr. Barr and Mr. Mueller then spoke on the phone where Mr. Mueller “expressed frustration” at the lack of context from Mr. Barr’s initial four-page letter to Congress, said department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec.

They talked about whether Mr. Barr could quickly release some of the report to give a fuller sense of Mr. Mueller’s work and findings, but Mr. Barr ultimately determined they shouldn’t release it in parts, and they decided to work quickly on redactions so the full report could be made public, Ms. Kupec said.

The exchange did, however, prompt the follow-up letter Mr. Barr did send to Congress, and which was made public, explaining that his original four-page letter wasn’t intended to be a summary but rather his own reading of Mr. Mueller’s main conclusions.

Mr. Mueller said he found no proof that Mr. Trump conspired with Russia to subvert the 2016 election — the chief reason for his probe — but he found suspicious behavior by the president in attempts to try to thwart investigations into Russia’s activities, which in some lights could be viewed as obstruction of justice.

Mr. Barr has concluded that there wasn’t actual obstruction, in part because there was no underlying conspiracy. He ruled there can’t be obstruction of a probe into a crime that wasn’t committed.

The existence of the letter, first reported by The Washington Post earlier Tuesday, enraged Democrats who said it was proof Mr. Barr misled the public and Congress in his public statements about Mr. Mueller’s work.

“The special counsel’s concerns reflect our own,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler. “The attorney general should not have taken it upon himself to describe the special counsel’s findings in a light more favorable to the president. It was only a matter of time before the facts caught up to him.”

Mr. Nadler also said Mr. Barr had “withheld this letter from Congress,” and he demanded a full copy be produced.

Mr. Barr is slated to testify to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

He’s also scheduled to appear before Mr. Nadler’s panel on Thursday, but the two sides are disagreeing over how that hearing will go and what format will be used.

Mr. Nadler said the Mueller letter makes it all the more imperative that Mr. Barr show up and submit to Democrats’ queries.

He also said he will renew his push to have Mr. Mueller testify independently.

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