Special counsel Robert Mueller told Attorney General William Barr in March that his four-page letter summarizing the findings of the Russia investigation failed to “fully capture” the team’s work and threatened the public’s confidence in the results of the probe, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Mr. Mueller stated his concerns in a letter he sent March 27, after Mr. Barr publicly announced that the special counsel’s investigation hadn’t found that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election and that Mr. Mueller’s probe made no conclusion about whether the president obstructed justice. In the absence of a recommendation, Mr. Barr determined President Trump didn’t commit a crime. Mr. Trump and his allies have declared the probe exonerated him.
The letter will likely fuel criticism from Democrats that Mr. Barr oversimplified the report’s findings in an effort to protect the president. It offered the clearest indication to date of disagreement between Messrs. Mueller and Barr, two longtime colleagues, over their handling of the politically charged investigation and its consequential findings.
The letter, first reported by The Washington Post, is also sure to be a focal point when Mr. Barr testifies about his handling of Mr. Mueller’s report Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The hearing, lawmakers’ first chance to question Mr. Barr, is expected to provide the fullest look yet into his thinking before he released a redacted version of the 448-page report last month.