Some on Mueller’s Team Say Report Was More Damaging Than Barr Revealed

WASHINGTON — Some of Robert S. Mueller III’s investigators have informed associates that Attorney General William P. Barr didn’t adequately painting the findings of their inquiry and that they had been extra troubling for President Trump than Mr. Barr indicated, in response to authorities officers and others accustomed to their simmering frustrations.

At stake within the dispute — the primary proof of stress between Mr. Barr and the particular counsel’s workplace — is who shapes the general public’s preliminary understanding of one of the vital consequential authorities investigations in American historical past. Some members of Mr. Mueller’s group are involved that, as a result of Mr. Barr created the primary narrative of the particular counsel’s findings, Americans’ views could have hardened earlier than the investigation’s conclusions grow to be public.

Mr. Barr has mentioned he’ll transfer rapidly to launch the practically 400-page report however wants time to clean out confidential data. The particular counsel’s investigators had already written a number of summaries of the report, and a few group members consider that Mr. Barr ought to have included extra of their materials within the four-page letter he wrote on March 24 laying out their predominant conclusions, in response to authorities officers accustomed to the investigation. Mr. Barr solely briefly cited the particular counsel’s work in his letter.

However, the particular counsel’s workplace by no means requested Mr. Barr to launch the summaries quickly after he obtained the report, an individual accustomed to the investigation mentioned. And the Justice Department rapidly decided that the summaries include delicate data, like categorized materials, secret grand-jury testimony and knowledge associated to present federal investigations that should stay confidential, in response to two authorities officers.

Mr. Barr was additionally cautious of departing from Justice Department observe to not disclose derogatory particulars in closing an investigation, in response to two authorities officers accustomed to Mr. Barr’s considering. They pointed to the choice by James B. Comey, the previous F.B.I. director, to harshly criticize Hillary Clinton in 2016 whereas asserting that he was recommending no costs within the inquiry into her e-mail practices.

The officers and others interviewed declined to flesh out why among the particular counsel’s investigators considered their findings as probably extra damaging for the president than Mr. Barr defined, though the report is believed to look at Mr. Trump’s efforts to thwart the investigation. It was unclear how a lot dialogue Mr. Mueller and his investigators had with senior Justice Department officers about how their findings can be made public. It was additionally unclear how widespread the vexation is among the many particular counsel group, which included 19 attorneys, about 40 F.B.I. brokers and different personnel.

At the identical time, Mr. Barr and his advisers have expressed their very own frustrations about Mr. Mueller and his group. Mr. Barr and different Justice Department officers consider the particular counsel’s investigators fell wanting their activity by declining to resolve whether or not Mr. Trump illegally obstructed the inquiry, in response to the 2 authorities officers. After Mr. Mueller made no judgment on the obstruction matter, Mr. Barr stepped in to declare that he himself had cleared Mr. Trump of wrongdoing.

Representatives for the Justice Department and the particular counsel declined to remark on Wednesday on views inside each Mr. Mueller’s workplace and the Justice Department. They pointed to departmental laws requiring Mr. Mueller to file a confidential report back to the lawyer common detailing prosecution selections and to Mr. Barr’s separate vow to ship a redacted model of that report back to Congress. Under the laws, Mr. Barr can publicly launch as a lot of the doc as he deems acceptable.

Legal experts attacked Mr. Comey at the time for violating Justice Department practice to keep confidential any negative information about anyone uncovered during investigations. The practice exists to keep from unfairly sullying people’s reputations without giving them a chance to respond in court.

Mr. Rosenstein cited the handling of the Clinton case in a memo the White House used to rationalize Mr. Trump’s firing of Mr. Comey.

Though it was not clear what findings the special counsel’s investigators viewed as troubling for the president, Mr. Barr has suggested that Mr. Mueller may have found evidence of malfeasance in investigating possible obstruction of justice. “The report sets out evidence on both sides of the question,” Mr. Barr wrote in his March 24 letter.

Mr. Mueller examined Mr. Trump’s attempts to maintain control over the investigation, including his firing of Mr. Comey and his attempt to oust Mr. Mueller and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to install a loyalist to oversee the inquiry.

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