Shocking Report from Neptune

So, Nicholas Fandos, Michael S. Schmidt and Mark Mazzetti, writing for The New York Times, has a report that investigators for Mueller’s team finds the Barr pamphlet misleading.

Some of Robert S. Mueller IIIs investigators have told associates that Attorney General William P. Barr failed to adequately portray the findings of their inquiry and that they were more troubling for President Trump than Mr. Barr indicated, according to government officials and others familiar with their simmering frustrations.

Cue your favorite SHOCKED gif. Go on.

At stake in the dispute — the first evidence of tension between Mr. Barr and the special counsel’s office — is who shapes the public’s initial understanding of one of the most consequential government investigations in American history. Some members of Mr. Mueller’s team are concerned that, because Mr. Barr created the first narrative of the special counsel’s findings, Americans’ views will have hardened before the investigation’s conclusions become public.

….The special counsel’s investigators had already written multiple summaries of the report, and some team members believe that Mr. Barr should have included more of their material in the four-page letter he wrote on March 24 laying out their main conclusions.

So summaries were already written and Barr didn’t use them? That seems… troubling. It’s like Barr doesn’t want to show everyone what’s actually in the report.

Ellen Nakashima, writing for the Washington Post, adds her reporting on this SHOCKING story.

Some members of the office were particularly disappointed that Barr did not release summary information the special counsel team had prepared, according to two people familiar with their reactions. There was immediate displeasure from the team when they saw how the attorney general had characterized their work instead,” according one U.S. official briefed on the matter.

Summaries were prepared for different sections of the report, with a view that they could made public, the official said. The report was prepared so that the front matter from each section could have been released immediately — or very quickly,” the official said. “It was done in a way that minimum redactions, if any, would have been necessary, and the work would have spoken for itself.”

Mueller’s team assumed the information was going to be made available to the public, the official said, and so they prepared their summaries to be shared in their own words — and not in the attorney general’s summary of their work, as turned out to be the case.”

This whole thing is pretty ridiculous. I don’t understand why they thought Barr wasn’t going to simply protect the President. Ben Mathis-Lilley had the best summation of this story for Slate.

Trump selected Barr to become attorney general after Barr defended Trump’s right to mess with the Russia investigation both publicly and privately; Barr had also held the same office under George H.W. Bush, during which time he recommended pardoning four individuals close to Bush who’d been convicted of lying to investigators about the sale of weapons to Iran. Also, Donald Trump is Donald Trump. I’m not the first to point this out, but on what world could anyone be surprised that this particular president–attorney general tag team would “weaponize” any given piece of information in a partisan way? Neptune? Sure, maybe the special counsel’s office was on Neptune.

April 4, 2019

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