The moment Attorney General William Barr laid eyes on a letter from special counsel Robert Mueller criticizing Barr’s summary of his two-year investigation, he knew his goose was cooked. Mueller was creating a written record that wouldn’t allow Barr to bastardize his concerns the way he had mischaracterized Mueller’s report.
“Bob, what’s with the letter? Why didn’t you just pick up the phone and call me?”
Mueller didn’t need to tell Barr what they both knew: Mueller now considered Barr an untrustworthy adversary—a liar, in essence. Going forward, Mueller was going to memorialize his views in writing.
In his testimony, Barr explained that Mueller didn’t necessarily accuse him of misrepresenting the report’s principal conclusions but was rather concerned about the media coverage. Actually, Mueller’s letter to Barr never once mentioned the media or press coverage. Not once.
Barr went on to call Mueller’s letter “snitty.” That’s interesting given the fact that he had unequivocally stated in previous testimony: “I don’t know whether Bob Mueller supported my conclusion.” Oh, but Mueller was “snitty” about it.
Snitty or not, Mueller won this round, at least, after Barr completely undermined the public rollout of his once-pristine probe. As anxious as Senate Judiciary Chair Lindsey Graham was to declare the entire proceeding “over,” he was forced to end the hearing with the promise that he would reach out to Mueller concerning the gap between Barr’s characterization of their phone call and the letter Mueller actually sent.
As Barr ultimately conceded, “The letter speaks for itself.”
Watch the exchange below.
"I said 'Bob, what's with the letter? Why didn't you just pick up the phone?'"
Attorney General William Barr details his phone call with Robert Mueller following Mueller's letter critiquing the 4-page summary Barr released of the Mueller report. https://t.co/R23AAzZRWV pic.twitter.com/hqjVEWYSfe
— CNN (@CNN) May 1, 2019