Investigators on Robert Mueller’s team are vexed at Attorney General William Barr’s characterization of the special counsel’s report. They say Barr “failed to adequately portray the findings of their inquiry,” The New York Times reported on Wednesday.
Hours later, The Washington Post corroborated this account, reporting that some members of Mueller’s team had expressed frustration at the attorney general’s March 24 summary to Congress in which he absolved President Donald Trump of any obstruction of justice.
A number of special counsel investigators told associates that the evidence they gathered on the question of obstruction was both “alarming and significant,” the Post reported. The paper also quoted a person familiar with the probe as saying the evidence was “much more acute than Barr suggested.”
Further details were not provided.
Some investigators were particularly miffed that Barr had not released the official summaries of the report that their team had prepared, the Post reported. One official told the paper that the special counsel report was written in such a way that would have allowed “the front matter from each section ... [to be] released immediately — or very quickly” to the public.
“It was done in a way that minimum redactions, if any, would have been necessary, and the work would have spoken for itself,” the official said.
However, two unnamed government officials told the Times that the Justice Department had determined that these summaries contained sensitive information, including classified material.
Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), speaking to MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell on Wednesday night, questioned why Barr had felt “the need to release his own summary” instead of releasing the summaries produced by Mueller’s team.
“Why didn’t he release a summary produced by Bob Mueller himself instead of trying to shape it through his own words?” Schiff, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, said.
On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee voted to authorize a subpoena for the full Mueller report. “The committee must see everything,” said committee chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.).
Nadler also said that he’d give Barr some time to “change his mind” about providing an unredacted version of the report to Congress before issuing a subpoena.
Reacting to the reports of displeasure among some people in Mueller’s office, Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani blasted the special counsel’s team, calling it a group of “Angry Democrats”:
As the Times noted, Mueller’s team included 19 lawyers and about 40 FBI agents and other staff members. It’s unclear, the paper said, “how widespread the vexation” was among them.