Rod Rosenstein, the outgoing Deputy Attorney General defended Attorney General William Barr on Thursday against allegations that he is misleading Congress and the public about the special counsel’s Russia report.
“He’s being as forthcoming as he can, and so this notion that he’s trying to mislead people, I think is just completely bizarre,” Rosenstein said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.
Democrats are saying that Barr released misleading information about special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings from his 22-month investigation. The investigation focused on possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, as well as whether President Trump tried to obstruct the probe.
Barr sent a March 24th letter to Congress saying that Mueller was unable to establish that collusion occurred. On the obstruction matter, Barr said that Mueller declined to make a decision one way or the other on whether to recommend a case against Trump.
Barr said that he talked with Rosenstein and Justice Department lawyers and decided against pursuing a case. The attorney general also said that since there was no allegation of conspiracy, Trump had no underlying crime to conceal by obstruction.
Democrats intensified their criticism last week after The New York Times reported that members of Mueller’s team were frustrated that Barr had misrepresented Mueller’s findings. The anonymous sources claimed that there was a stronger case to be made on obstruction than Barr’s letter indicated.
Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller as special counsel on May 17, 2017 and oversaw the investsigation, said that Barr revealed as much information as he could. He also defended the review process taking place ahead of the release of the report.
Barr said on Tuesday that he plans to give a redacted version of Mueller’s report to Congress “within a week.”
The Justice Department, in coordination with Mueller’s team, is reviewing the report to decide information to redact.
“It would be one thing if you put out a letter and said, ‘I’m not going to give you the report,’” Rosenstein told The Journal.
“What he said is, ‘Look, it’s going to take a while to process the report. In the meantime, people really want to know what’s in it. I’m going to give you the top-line conclusions.’ That’s all he was trying to do.”
Credit: Daily Caller