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Tipsheet

Reports: Mueller Sent Barr a Letter After Memo's Release. Here's What He Was Upset About.

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Update: Here is the letter in full: 

Original: Special counsel Robert Mueller was reportedly dissatisfied with Attorney General William Barr’s four-page memo of the principal findings from the Russia probe because it failed to “fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of the investigation.

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According to multiple reports, Mueller sent a letter to Barr on March 27 detailing his concerns, days after the memo’s release.

“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,” he said, urging Barr to release the full report’s introductions and executive summaries, reports The Washington Post, which obtained a copy of the letter.

The next day Mueller and Barr had a conversation discussing the letter but Mueller conceded that Barr’s four-page memo was not inaccurate. 

A day after Mueller sent his letter to Barr, the two men spoke by phone for about 15 minutes, according to law enforcement officials.

In that call, Mueller said he was concerned that media coverage of the obstruction investigation was misguided and creating public misunderstandings about the office’s work, according to Justice Department officials. Mueller did not express similar concerns about the public discussion of the investigation of Russia’s election interference, the officials said. Barr has testified previously he did not know whether Mueller supported his conclusion on obstruction.

When Barr pressed Mueller on whether he thought Barr’s memo to Congress was inaccurate, Mueller said he did not but felt that the media coverage of it was misinterpreting the investigation, officials said.

In their call, Barr also took issue with Mueller calling his memo a “summary,” saying he had never intended to summarize the voluminous report, but instead provide an account of its top conclusions, officials said.

Justice Department officials said that, in some ways, the phone conversation was more cordial than the letter that preceded it, but that the two men did express some differences of opinion about how to proceed. (WaPo)

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“The Attorney General and the Special Counsel agreed to get the full report out with necessary redactions as expeditiously as possible," a DOJ spokeswoman said. "The next day, the Attorney General sent a letter to Congress reiterating that his March 24 letter was not intended to be a summary of the report, but instead only stated the Special Counsel’s principal conclusions, and volunteered to testify before both Senate and House Judiciary Committees on May 1 and 2.”

Barr is expected to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday and the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday. 

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