Attorney General Bill Barr dismissed a letter from Special Counsel Robert Mueller leaked to the media, disputing a memo detailing the investigation.
“You know, the letter is a bit snitty and I think it was probably written by one of his staff people,” Barr said during Senate testimony on Wednesday in response to Sen. Richard Blumenthal.
Barr also disputed Blumenthal’s characterization of Mueller as a “career prosecutor,” describing him instead as a “political appointee.”
Mueller said that he had his own summaries of his investigation, Barr revealed, and that the Special Counsel asked him to release them to help correct the media’s characterization of the investigation’s conclusion.
Barr defended his decision to release a short memo of the investigation’s conclusions, explaining that it was “my baby” after Mueller turned in the investigation to the Justice Department.
Mueller’s letter was leaked to the media just hours before Barr’s Senate testimony was scheduled to begin.
In the letter, Mueller disputed Barr’s conclusion memo issued on March 24 declaring that the investigation found no campaign collusion with Russia and did not charge the president with obstruction.
“The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this offices work and conclusions,” Mueller’s letter read, complaining of “misunderstandings” of the investigation in the media.
Both Barr and Mueller spoke on the phone in response to the letter, as Mueller admitted that Barr’s memo was not inaccurate, but expressed concerns about how the media was interpreting the investigation.
Barr confirmed that a staff member took notes of the conversation, but declined to provide the notes to members of Congress.