Fred Wertheimer: Attorney General Barr’s Letter on No Obstruction has No Credibility

March 25, 2019 – Attorney General Bill Barr decided his position on the obstruction of justice issue nearly a year ago at a time when, as a private citizen, Barr had no information on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s findings or the factual record upon which Mueller reached his findings.

This did not stop Barr from sending an unsolicited letter dated June 8, 2018, to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Assistant Attorney General Steve Engel stating that “Mueller’s obstruction theory is fatally misconceived.” The Barr letter further said that Mueller’s position on obstruction, if accepted by the Justice Department, “would do lasting damage to the Presidency and to the administration of law with the Executive branch.”

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According to the June 8, 2018 letter:

Mueller should not be permitted to demand that the President submit to interrogation about alleged obstruction. Apart from whether Mueller [sic] a strong enough factual basis for doing so, Mueller’s obstruction theory is fatally misconceived. As I understand it, his theory is premised on a novel and legally insupportable reading of the law. Moreover, in my view, if credited by the Department, it would have grave consequences far beyond the immediate confines of this case and would do lasting damage to the Presidency and to the administration of law within the Executive branch.

In his submission to the Attorney General, Special Counsel Mueller said on the obstruction of justice issue that “while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

In his March 24, 2019 letter to the Hill, Barr overrode Mueller’s finding that his report “does not exonerate” Trump.  But Barr’s position has no credibility since it was predetermined by Barr’s June 8, 2019 letter and therefore was not based on the record of the Mueller report.

Furthermore, President Trump has now used Barr’s action to lie once again by saying that the Mueller report provided him with “a complete and total exoneration.”  (As of March 17, Trump had made 9,179 false and misleading statements since he became President, according to The Washington Post.)

Therefore, it is all the more essential that Attorney General Barr promptly provide Congress and the public with the full, uncensored Mueller report and underlying documents, to enable Congress and the public to make their own determinations about the evidence that led Special Counsel Mueller to conclude that his report “does not exonerate” President Trump on obstruction of justice.

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