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Dishonesty Abounds Following WaPo’s Mueller-Barr Reporting

by James Silberman Read Profile arrow_right_alt

On the eve of US Attorney General William Barr’s testimony Wednesday morning before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Washington Post reported that special counsel Robert Mueller communicated with Barr on two occasions following the release of Barr’s four-page outline of the Mueller report’s key findings.

In March, Mueller wrote a letter to Barr expressing his belief that Barr’s outline “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of Mueller’s report. Barr, reportedly surprised by the letter, called Mueller to discuss the issue further.

According to the DOJ via the Washington Post, Mueller said during this phone call that nothing in Barr’s outline was inaccurate: “When Barr pressed Mueller on whether he thought Barr’s memo to Congress was inaccurate, Mueller said he did not but felt that the media coverage of it was misinterpreting the investigation, officials said.”

Being one of the most feverishly reported on investigations in American history, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that every word choice of every report would be likewise scrutinized by all involved. Fortunately, we have access to the full report so we can decide for ourselves what’s an accurate description of the key findings and what’s not. We needn’t rely on leaked opinions of it.

Unfortunately, the media has a narrative to keep to, so there’s not going to be much discussion regarding anything within Mueller’s report or Barr’s outline. They’re going into full Democratic PR mode, as usual, accusing Barr of covering up Mueller’s report… despite the fact that he released Mueller’s report.

Congressional Democrats and presidential hopefuls expressed the same sentiments.

The concept of covering something up must include an actual instance of covering something up. The report’s release means that, definitionally, Mueller’s report wasn’t covered up. These people could be taken seriously if they were arguing that Barr attempted to slightly alter public perception of the report with his outline. I disagree, I think it was accurate, but whatever one’s position, “cover up,” “sabotage,” and “Trump’s stooge” are unserious assessments from unserious people. These assessments only have any effect if people are uninformed on the release of the report and its outline. Democrats and the media are betting that people are.

Barr accurately covered the major points of Mueller’s report – namely that no evidence was found that any member of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government, and that Mueller’s report laid out the evidence on both sides of the obstruction investigation leaving undetermined the difficult issues of law and fact. Of course, it’s just a four-page outline of a 448-page report, so the overwhelming majority of context and details are going to be left out – context and details which were then made clear upon release of the full report.

Again, the full report is out. Anyone who wants to find out the veracity of the claims being made by all sides can access the report and the outline. Mueller’s opinion of Barr’s outline driving the news cycle, journalists pretending this alters the legitimacy of Barr’s outline, and then accusing Barr of a “cover up” are examples of politically motivated journalistic malpractice. As Andy McCarthy said, “[w]e can read the report … the rest is diva noise.”

Read Mueller’s final report here

Read Barr’s outline of Mueller’s report here

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