It was painfully clear that the leak was designed to make Attorney General William Barr’s day extremely unpleasant. All day Wednesday, the media was in a frenzy thanks to a source or sources who released a letter of complaint written by Mueller to Barr. Before Barr was even able to sit in front of the Senate committee, several Democrats were asking for Barr to resign, which is extremely unlikely to happen.
When the Judiciary Committee finally began, it was so blatantly partisan that it just kind of muted the once-secret Mueller letter. Regardless if Barr resigns, the letter is extremely harmful to his reputation. It’s also given firepower to Barr’s critics, who have accused him of abandoning his integrity to help President Trump.
As much trouble as the letter is giving Barr right now, it would have been a lot more damaging if it had been released before Mueller’s report had been made public. According to the Post, “The letter and a subsequent phone call between the two men reveal the degree to which the longtime colleagues and friends disagreed as they handled the legally and politically fraught task of investigating the president.”
The Washington Post continued by defining Mueller’s note as a diss to Barr’s infamous four-page summary of Mueller’s 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 this office’s work and conclusions. 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,” said The Post. Even though Mueller asked that his own summaries be quickly released to the public, Barr refused.
One of the main reasons why Mueller’s leak caused so much hysteria was because the public has never been able to express his opinions openly, rather than in legal documents and statements from his office. Even though the report has been made public, Mueller still remains as an offstage presence. According to an agreement established on Wednesday, Mueller will be sharing his side of the story during an in House testimony later this month.
But it’s painfully clear that one of Mueller’s allies wanted to put a bit more pressure on Barr before his testimony. Lindsey Graham, a leader on the GOP side of things, mainly wanted to discuss Hillary Clinton’s emails and the anti-Trump emails between former FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. The Democrats, who were led by Dianne Feinstein, read harmful passages from the Mueller report and asked Barr about the disagreements he had with Mueller. Barr was also asked why he didn’t see the findings as obstruction of justice.
The most entertaining of all was when Barr admitted to being surprised that Mueller didn’t reach a conclusion on the allegations of obstruction. Barr also said that he couldn’t get a clear explanation while meeting with Mueller.
Attorney General Barr insisted that Mueller “was very clear with me that he was not suggesting that we had misrepresented his report.” Barr also said that Mueller told him that “the press reporting had been inaccurate and that the press was reading too much into it.”
Barr also claims that Mueller declined his offer to go through Barr’s four-page summary of the report ahead of time. Feinstein questioned Barr about the findings that Trump told his White House counsel, Don McGahn, to have Special Counsel Mueller fired. McGahn refused to do it and threatened to resign.
According to Barr, this was not an attempt from Trump to obstruct the probe because “there is a distinction between saying to someone, ‘Go fire him, go fire Mueller,’ and saying, ‘Have him removed based on conflict.'” Barr says there was no obstruction because “presumably” another person would have been chosen to replace Mueller. Things turned drastic when Sen. Mazie Hirono demanded Barr’s resignation, saying that he had sacrificed his “once-decent reputation for the grifter and liar who sits in the Oval Office.” Lindsey Graham responded by saying: “Listen, you slandered this man!”