In a move that one former United States attorney described as the equivalent of “lighting yourself on fire in front of the Department of Justice,” Russia investigation special counsel Robert Mueller on March 27 wrote a letter to Attorney General William Barr sharply rebuking him for his four-page letter in which Barr concluded that the Mueller report did not contain evidence of obstruction of justice by Donald Trump. Writing the letter was an extraordinary move by Mueller, because Justice department officials rarely “go to paper” with criticisms of each other, a Politico report noted.
But by “going to paper” with his criticism of Barr — with whom he has been personal friends for decades — Mueller provided clear evidence that Barr made a false statement to Congress in his testimony to the Senate Committee on Appropriations, testimony he delivers on April 10, two weeks after he received the highly critical letter from Mueller, according to CNN, reporting via Twitter.
In his April 10 testimony, Barr was asked by Maryland Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen, “Did Bob Mueller support your conclusion?”
“I don’t know whether Bob Mueller supported my conclusion,” Barr replied — falsely characterizing Mueller’s expression of disapproval in the letter, as well as concealing the existence of the letter itself.
On April 20th, I asked Barr, “Did Bob Mueller support your conclusion?” His answer was, “I don’t know whether Mueller supported my conclusion.”
We now know Mueller stated his concerns on March 27th, and that Barr totally misled me, the Congress, and the public. He must resign. pic.twitter.com/rod404BbYo
— Chris Van Hollen (@ChrisVanHollen) May 1, 2019
As The Inquisitr reported, Mueller in his letter scolded Barr for failing in his March 24 summary of the Mueller report sent to Congress to “capture the context, nature, and substance of (the special counsel) office’s work and conclusions.”
Mueller in his letter lamented the fact that Barr’s summary, with its conclusion that Trump did not commit an obstruction of justice felony, had caused “public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation.”
Mueller in his letter spelled out his objections to Barr’s summary “in stark terms that shocked senior Justice Department officials,” according to the Washington Post report that first revealed the existence of the Mueller letter.
Former United States Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania Harry Litman, writing on his Twitter feed, expressed shock that the normally reticent Mueller, who has not made a single public statement about his investigation, would pen the letter at all.
“It’s a declaration of war,” Litman wrote. “Everybody realizes it’s a loaded bomb that could go off anytime. For the laconic and obedient Mueller, it’s almost like lighting yourself on fire in front of the DOJ.”
Barr is scheduled to testify again on Wednesday, May 1, this time to the Senate Judiciary Committee. In his testimony, according to his prepared opening statement posted via Document Cloud, Barr will announce that Mueller’s investigation is now “at its end.”
In the statement, Barr also argues that he had no choice other than to render a decision on whether Trump committed obstruction of justice, but according to Georgetown University law professor Marty Lederman, on his Twitter feed, Barr’s claim is simply wrong.