The Atlantic

Barr Misled the Public—And It Worked

Special Counsel Robert Mueller objected that the attorney general was mischaracterizing his investigation, but by then it was too late.
Source: Aaron Bernstein / Reuters

Updated at 1:44 p.m. ET on May 1, 2019.

When William Barr was appointed attorney general, his critics warned that Barr would do everything he could to either interfere with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s work or suppress his report. In his confirmation hearings, Barr pledged to release as much of the report as he could under the law.

He followed through: There have been no indications of interference, and he released the 448-page report in April with relatively light redactions. But Barr was more clever. While still making the report public, Barr managed to mislead the public and Congress, spinning Mueller’s findings in a way that hobbled their impact and protected the president.

The gap between Barr’s statements and what Mueller actually concluded is clear from any comparison of Barr’s initial summary of conclusions to Congress, released March 24, and his April 18 prerelease press conference with the actual text

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