Politics

Barr Defends His Handling Of The Russia Report: ‘I Wanted To … Get Out To The Public’

REUTERS/Erin Scott

Rachel Stoltzfoos Staff Reporter

Attorney General William Barr defended his handling of Robert Mueller’s Russia report in testimony before Congress Wednesday.

Barr said it was the right call to state Mueller’s bottom-line conclusions rather than release lengthy summaries as Mueller wanted. He also acknowledged that Mueller disagreed with his four-page memo summarizing the special counsel’s conclusions, arguing that it did not include enough detail.

The attorney general noted, however, that Mueller did not take issue with the accuracy of his memo and said his goal was not to “fully capture” the contents of the Russia report, as Mueller wanted, but rather to get the bottom line findings out to the public as soon as possible.

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“When I talked to the special counsel about the letter, my understanding was his concern was not the accuracy of the statement of the findings in my letter, but that he wanted more out there — to provide additional context to explain his reasoning on why he didn’t reach a decision on obstruction,” Barr told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin interrupted to press him further. “It was clear he had some genuine concerns about what you had said and done to that point,” he said. (RELATED: Full Text Of Mueller Letter Confirms A Big Fat Lie In Media Spin Of His Complaints)

Barr replied:

Yeah, his concern was: He wanted more added. And I would analogize it to this. After a months-long trial, if I wanted to go out and get out to the public what the verdict was, pending preparation of the full transcript, and I’m out there saying, “Here’s the verdict,” and the prosecutor comes up and taps me on the shoulder and says, “Well the verdict doesn’t really fully capture all my work. How about that great, you know cross-examination I did. Or how about that third day of trial where I did that. This doesn’t capture everything.”

“My answer to that is, I’m not trying to capture everything, I’m just trying to state the verdict,” he concluded.

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