Justice Department defends Barr's summary of Mueller report

Posted April 05, 2019

"A summarizing statement from an attorney general demonstrably hostile to the special counsel investigation-written without consulting Mueller-is not sufficient in any way, especially when the administration's public messaging about the report exonerating Trump seems to directly contradict the text of Barr's letter", said Baker. But Mueller is also involved in deciding what can and can't be released from his report, and his summaries were written in such a way that they definitely can't be released to the public or to Congress? "But if we can not reach an accommodation, then we will have no choice but to issue subpoenas for these materials", Nadler said at Wednesday's subpoena markup. Nadler said he is concerned about reports that documents relevant to Mueller's investigation "were sent outside the White House", meaning the committee should have access to them because they may not be covered by executive privilege. Instead, the attorney general gave Congress a four-page summary on March 24 in which he said that Mueller did not establish conspiracy between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.

An official in contact with members of Mueller's team told NBC that "the evidence on obstruction is compelling and said it includes more information than has been made public", further proof in case more was needed that the White House really should worry about what's coming in that section of Mueller's report.

The Times' report is the first public indication of tension between the attorney general and the special counsel's office over the conclusions about the Russian Federation investigation. "And they are rabid Democrats who hate the president of United States", huffed Trump surrogate Rudy Giuliani in a TV interview.

Nadler said Tuesday he was "not committing" to waiting for Barr to release the report he's working on before issuing a subpoena, saying subpoenas would be used "as necessary" and he wanted to see what cooperation the committee gets first from the attorney general. 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. "Why didn't he release a summary produced by Bob Mueller itself instead of trying to shape it through his own words?"

Under current regulations, Mueller only had to submit his full report to Barr, which he did on March 22.

The New York Times and Washington Post reported Wednesday that members of Mueller's team have complained to close associates that the evidence they gathered on obstruction was alarming and significant.

Nadler, whose committee would preside over any impeachment proceedings against the president, said the committee has the right to see the entire 400-page report and all supporting evidence.

On Wednesday night, Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, questioned why Barr did not release the special counsel's summary material.

The committee also authorized Nadler to subpoena documents and testimony from five of Trump's former aides, including former political adviser Steve Bannon and former White House counsel Donald McGahn. Barr has even said he is willing to appear voluntarily before Congress to answer questions about that work once the report is released.