Robert Mueller issued a sharp rebuke to Attorney General William Barr back in March after Barr released his public conclusions of the Russia report, one that political pundits say could swing open the door for the impeachment of both Barr and Donald Trump.
Barr was widely criticized in March for releasing a short letter declaring that Trump had been cleared on allegations that his campaign colluded with Russia and that Trump would not be charged with obstruction — though he was not exactly cleared on the issue. Democratic lawmakers demanded to see the full Russia report and called out Barr on what they believed to be thin justification for the conclusions.
As the Washington Post reported on Tuesday, Mueller himself was among those not satisfied with how Barr conveyed the results of the investigation. In a letter sent to Barr, Mueller rebuked the attorney general for failing to capture the scale and full findings of the Russia report.
“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 to this office’s work and conclusions,” Mueller wrote in the letter, as published by the Washington Post.
“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.”
William Barr is already facing considerable pressure from Congressional Democrats after the attorney general refused to testify, leading to threats of a subpoena and possible contempt of Congress charges if he refuses. The latest report kicked off new speculation that Barr himself could be impeached, including a call from Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro on Twitter.
Attorney General Barr willfully misled the American people to cover up attempted crimes by Donald Trump. He should resign his position or face an impeachment inquiry immediately. https://t.co/dTKCMccF7X
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) April 30, 2019
This garbage MUST end – the lying, the lack of integrity, the general abandonment of all standards. Impeach Barr.
— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) April 30, 2019
Spare the Rod, impeach the Barr. https://t.co/pK3iTV5mhl
— Greg Olear (@gregolear) April 30, 2019
I can't find any high-quality polling on how the public would feel about Barr impeachment. But here's what the public thought about his overall handling of the Mueller Report before tonight. Probably these numbers will worsen. pic.twitter.com/022U3tMvxo
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) April 30, 2019
Even before Tuesday’s report, there had been a growing push on the part of some Democrats to start impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump, including public statements from 2020 presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren that Trump should be impeached. The report that Barr may have misled the public about the findings of the report have added to speculation of impeachment for Trump as well.
Donald Trump hired a complicit William Barr to bury Robert Mueller’s devastating indictment of Trump. Mueller made this completely clear today. This is criminal and outrageous.
— Tony Schwartz (@tonyschwartz) April 30, 2019
But many top Democrats — including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — have been cool on the idea of impeaching Donald Trump, saying that Democrats should not move forward without significant support from Republicans in Congress. To date, that support does not appear to be there.