Thursday 22 August 2019

Mueller team unhappy with AG's report on their findings

Special counsel Robert Mueller (Cliff Owen/AP)
Special counsel Robert Mueller (Cliff Owen/AP)

Ellen Nakashima

Members of special counsel Robert Mueller's team have told associates they are frustrated with the limited information US Attorney General William Barr provided about their nearly two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether President Donald Trump sought to obstruct justice, according to people familiar with the matter.

The annoyance among some who worked on the closely held inquiry has quietly begun to surface in the days since Mr Barr released a four-page letter to Congress on March 24 describing what he said were the principal conclusions of Mr Mueller's still-confidential, 400-page report.

In his letter, Mr Barr said the special counsel did not establish a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia. And Mr Mueller did not reach a conclusion "one way or the other" as to whether Mr Trump's conduct in office constituted obstruction of justice.

Mr Barr told lawmakers he concluded the evidence was not sufficient to prove the president obstructed justice.

But members of Mr Mueller's team have complained to close associates that the evidence they gathered on obstruction was alarming and significant.

"It was much more acute than Barr suggested," said one person, who like others spoke on condition of anonymity because of the subject's sensitivity.

'The New York Times' first reported some investigators feel Mr Barr did not adequately portray their findings.

Some members of the office were particularly disappointed Mr Barr did not release summary information the special counsel team had prepared, according to two people familiar with their reactions.

"There was immediate displeasure from the team when they saw how the attorney general had characterised their work instead," according to one US official briefed on the matter. Summaries were prepared for different sections of the report, with a view that they could be made public, the official said.

The report was prepared "so that the front matter from each section could have been released immediately - or very quickly," the official said.

"It was done in a way that minimum redactions, if any, would have been necessary, and the work would have spoken for itself." (© The Washington Post)

Irish Independent

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