- Thomson Reuters
- The special counsel Robert Mueller sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr in March expressing frustration with the way Barr characterized his team’s findings in the FBI’s Russia investigation.
- Mueller submitted a final report to Barr on March 22. Barr sent a letter to Congress on March 24 laying out his “principal conclusions” in the investigation.
- On March 27, Mueller said in his letter to Barr that the attorney general’s March 24 letter “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this Office’s work and conclusions.”
- Scroll down to read the full text of Mueller’s letter to Barr.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The special counsel Robert Mueller wrote a letter to Attorney General William Barr on March 27 in which he objected to Barr’s characterization of Mueller’s findings in a key thread of the FBI’s Russia investigation.
Mueller was tasked with investigating whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russia during the 2016 US presidential election and whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice throughout the course of the inquiry. The special counsel submitted a final report of his findings to Barr on March 22.
Barr did not release a redacted version of Mueller’s report to the public until April 18. But he said in a March 24 letter to Congress that prosecutors did not find sufficient evidence to charge Trump or those around him with conspiracy. Barr also said prosecutors declined to make a “traditional prosecutorial judgment” on whether Trump obstructed justice.
But Barr, in consultation with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, reviewed Mueller’s findings and determined there was not enough evidence to charge Trump with an obstruction offense.
Three days later, in a highly unusual move, Mueller sent a letter to Barr in which Mueller expressed frustration with the fact that Barr’s March 24 letter “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this Office’s work and conclusions.”
“We communicated that concern to the Department on the morning of March 25,” Mueller continued. “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.”
The New York Times first reported on the existence of Mueller’s letter on Tuesday evening, and the House Judiciary Committee obtained a hard copy of the document Wednesday morning, minutes before Barr was set to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about his oversight of Mueller’s investigation.
Read the full letter, dated March 27, 2019, below:
Dear Attorney General Barr:
I previously sent you a letter dated March 25, 2019, that enclosed the introduction and executive summary for each volume of the Special Counsel’s report marked with redactions to remove any information that potentially could be protected by Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e); that concerned declination decisions; or that related to a charged case. We also had marked an additional two sentences for review and have now confirmed that these sentences can be released publicly.
Accordingly, the enclosed documents are in a form that can be released to the public consistent with legal requirements and Department policies. I am requesting that you provide these materials to Congress and authorize their public release at this time.
As we stated in our meeting of March 5 and reiterated to the Department early in the afternoon of March 24, the introductions and executive summaries of our two-volume report accurately summarize this Office’s work and conclusions. 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. We communicated that concern to the Department on the morning of March 25. 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. See Department of Justice, Press Release (May 17, 2017).
While we understand that the Department is reviewing the full report to determine what is appropriate for public release – a process that our Office is working with you to complete – that process need not delay release of the enclosed materials. Release at this time would alleviate the misunderstandings that have arisen and would answer congressional and public questions about the nature and outcome of our investigation. It would also accord with the standard for public release of notifications to Congress cited in your letter. See 28 C.F.R. 609(c) (“the Attorney General may determine the public release” of congressional notifications “would be in the public interest”).
Robert S. Mueller, III