After U.S. Attorney General William Barr was grilled before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, Committee Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) declared “it’s over” and said he had no plans to invite Special Counsel Robert Mueller to testify. Now it’s Friday and Graham has sent Mueller a letter inviting him to testify.
Graham began by thanking Mueller and his team for the “professional and thorough manner in which you conducted your investigation” and thanking Mueller specifically for the service he’s provided for America “now and throughout your entire life.” With that out of the way, Graham pivoted to Mueller’s much-discussed letter to Barr expressing concerns about Barr’s four-page letter on the “principal conclusions” of the investigation.
Mueller said that Barr’s letter “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of his office’s “work and conclusions.” Mueller also said that he expressed those concerns on March 25, the day after Barr decided to release his own letter.
Mueller’s March 27 letter said that the executive summaries were “in a form that can be released to the public consistent with the legal requirements and Department policies,” and he requested that Barr “provide these materials to Congress and authorize their public release at this time.” Mueller also said that the “executive summaries of our two-volume report accurately summarized” his office’s conclusions and requested their release.
Graham expressed an interest in learning more about what happened here — but particularly about a certain phone call.
“In response to questions by Senator Blumenthal, the Attorney General testified in essence that you told him in a phone call that you did not challenge the accuracy of the Attorney General’s summary of your report’s principal conclusions, but rather you wanted more of the report, particularly the executive summaries concerting obstruction of justice, to be released promptly,” Graham said. “In particular, Attorney General Barr testified that you believed media coverage of your investigation was unfair without the public release of those summaries.”
After that, Graham invited Mueller to dispute Barr’s claims.
“Please inform the Committee if you would like to provide testimony regarding any misrepresentation by the Attorney General of the substance of that phone call,” he added.
Some are calling the letter from Graham “shrewd,” since the only thing Graham invited Mueller to talk about was a phone call he would probably decline to discuss.
This is a shrewd move by Graham meant to put Mueller in an uncomfortable position. Graham has *only* invited Mueller to speak about “misrepresentations” by Barr of their private phone call.
So Mueller is invited to come specifically to call Barr a liar. I suspect he declines. https://t.co/vVfgp6U906
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) May 3, 2019
[Image via NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images]