by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
It’s hard to know where to begin. Barr’s position was eminently reasonable. He wanted to get the basic verdict of the Mueller report out as quickly as possible, given the inherent interest in the question of whether the president of the United States had conspired with the Russians. He opposed the subsequent release of the summaries of the report, as suggested in Mueller’s letter, because he thought it better that the public get the entire report at once. Which it did. Democrats and the media are acting as if Barr engaged in some sort of cover-up, when he went further than required under the regulations to release all of the report with minimal redactions.
Even Mueller in a phone conversation with Barr didn’t complain that his summary of findings was inaccurate — Barr was careful to note that Mueller didn’t “exonerate” Trump on obstruction.
Barr is being accused of perjury in prior congressional testimony about his handling of his report. But Barr was typically terse and precise in his answers. In one exchange with Representative Charlie Crist (Fla., Any Party That Will Take Him), Barr said he didn’t know what were the specific complaints of unnamed Mueller staff criticizing his handling of the summary to the press. But he also offered, on his own initiative, that they probably wanted more material from the report made public, and he explained why he didn’t think it was a good idea to release summaries of the report.