A newly-released memo that William Barr wrote earlier this year is making waves due to the attitude the nominee for U.S. Attorney General apparently has towards Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s investigation. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, however, isn’t giving it too much weight.
Barr, who was recently nominated by President Donald Trump for the AG job, wrote in the June 2018 document that Mueller’s investigation of possible obstruction of justice on Trump’s part is “fatally misconceived.” His reason is that Trump had every right to fire former FBI Director James Comey, whose termination ultimately led to Mueller’s appointment and the subsequent obstruction inquiry.
Barr, who previously served as Attorney General under President George H.W. Bush, said in his memo that Mueller’s obstruction investigation is based on “a novel and legally insupportable reading of the law.” Because firing Comey was an inherently legal act, with no allegation of there’s no reason to charge the president with a crime based on a theory of his motivation for the act.
He added that Mueller shouldn’t even be able to question Trump about obstruction “until has enough evidence to establish collusion,” which would at least show the existence of a possible underlying crime that Trump would supposedly have been trying to cover up.
Rosenstein, who for much of the Russia investigation was the one overseeing Mueller, was not impressed. After the memo went public, he was quick to point out that Barr doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
“Our decisions are informed by our knowledge of the actual facts of the case, which Mr. Barr didn’t have,” Rosenstein said, according to Vox’s Andrew Prokop.
Interesting Rosenstein comment about the Barr memo:
“Our decisions are informed by our knowledge of the actual facts of the case, which Mr. Barr didn’t have.”
— Andrew Prokop (@awprokop) December 20, 2018
Indeed, Barr noted at the beginning of his memo that he was “in the dark about many facts,” before going on for 19 pages based on what he thinks could be the basis of Mueller’s investigation.
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