The New York Times reported on Wednesday night that unnamed member(s) of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team think that Mueller’s report is “more troubling” for President Donald Trump than Attorney General William Barr stated in his letter to Congress.
The Times’ report gives no indication as to what potential information exists that could be damaging for Trump and only gives a vague suggestion that it could be related to the part of the investigation that looked at obstruction of justice. The Times reports:
The officials and others interviewed declined to flesh out why some of the special counsel’s investigators viewed their findings as potentially more damaging for the president than Mr. Barr explained, although the report is believed to examine Mr. Trump’s efforts to thwart the investigation.
In December, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz said regarding the Mueller report: “So what I’m afraid is going to happen is this special counsel whose job it is only to find crimes, not sins, only crimes, will blur the line between crimes and sins and write a report designed to put the president in a bad light. But in the end, they won’t be able to find any specific violations of federal criminal statutes unless they stretch these vague laws like obstruction of justice beyond any recognition.”
People from Mueller’s team — which reportedly had 13 registered Democrats and no registered Republicans — were reportedly concerned over who was winning the narrative with the American public about the findings from the investigation. The Times reports:
At stake in the disputed — the first evidence of tension between Mr. Barr and the special counsel’s office — is who shapes the public’s initial understanding of one of the most consequential government investigations in American history. Some members of Mr. Mueller’s team are concerned that, because Mr. Barr created the first narrative of the special counsel’s findings, Americans’ views will have hardened before the investigation’s conclusions become public.
Barr is currently working with law enforcement agencies, including prosecutors from Mueller’s team, to redact sensitive information from Mueller’s 400-page report so that the report can be released to the public by mid-April.
“Mr. Barr was also wary of departing from Justice Department practice not to disclose derogatory details in closing an investigation, according to two government officials familiar with Mr. Barr’s thinking,” The Times added. “They pointed to the decision by James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, to harshly criticize Hillary Clinton in 2016 while announcing that he was recommending no charges in the inquiry into her email practices.”
The Times adds that Barr and his team were frustrated that Mueller did not make a decision on whether the president had committed an obstruction related offense.
Regarding obstruction of justice, Barr wrote in his March 24 letter to Congress: “Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and I have concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel’s investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense. Our determination was made without regard to, and is not based on, the constitutional considerations that surround the indictment and criminal prosecution of a sitting president.”
Mueller’s report said the ” investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”