The Justice Department on Thursday defended Attorney General William Barr’s short outline of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report, hours after the New York Times reported that some members of Mueller’s team were concerned Barr had downplayed the results of the investigation to make it seem more favorable to President Trump.
“Given the extraordinary public interest in the matter, the Attorney General decided to release the report’s bottom-line findings and his conclusions immediately – without attempting to summarize the report – with the understanding that the report itself would be released after the redactions process,” read a statement from DOJ spokesperson Kerri Kupec. “The Department continues to work with the Special Counsel on appropriate redactions to the report so that it can be released to Congress and the public.”
Barr’s four-page outline of the report’s conclusions stated that Mueller had found no collusion between the Trump team and the Kremlin but left open the question of whether the president had obstructed justice during the investigation. It also made clear that Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had concluded there was not enough evidence to charge Trump with obstruction.
Barr and Rosenstein are currently in the process of redacting the report for release. On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee approved subpoenas demanding that the Justice Department provide Congress with the full, unredacted report. Barr promised in a Friday meeting with lawmakers to release a redacted version by “mid April, if not sooner.”
Trump launched a tweet missive against the Times Thursday morning, questioning the legitimacy of its reporting.
“The New York Times had no legitimate sources, which would be totally illegal, concerning the Mueller Report,” he wrote. “In fact, they probably had no sources at all! They are a Fake News paper who have already been forced to apologize for their incorrect and very bad reporting on me!”