Federal Judge Criticizes Bill Barr Over Handling of Mueller Report, Asks If It Was ‘Calculated Attempt’ to Help Trump

Federal Judge Criticizes Bill Barr Over Handling of Mueller Report, Asks If It Was ‘Calculated Attempt’ to Help Trump

A federal judge in Washington questioned the honesty of Attorney General Bill Barr in an opinion on the Justice Department’s handling of the Mueller report.

Judge Reggie Walton wrote that the nation’s top law enforcement officer exhibited a “lack of candor” with Congress and the public regarding the findings by Robert Mueller, the special counsel tasked with investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

“The Court cannot reconcile certain public representations made by Attorney General Barr with the findings in the Mueller Report,” Walton wrote Thursday. Barr’s depiction of Mueller’s findings “cause the Court to seriously question whether Attorney General Barr made a calculated attempt to influence public discourse about the Mueller Report in favor of President Trump despite certain findings in the redacted version of the Mueller Report to the contrary.”

Because of these discrepancies, Walton ruled, he would review Mueller’s full report to judge whether the Justice Department’s redactions were warranted.

“The speed by which Attorney General Barr released to the public the summary of Special Counsel Mueller’s principal conclusions, coupled with the fact that Attorney General Barr failed to provide a thorough representation of the findings set forth in the Mueller Report, causes the Court to question whether Attorney General Barr’s intent was to create a one-sided narrative about the Mueller Report — a narrative that is clearly in some respects substantively at odds with the redacted version of the Mueller Report,” Walton added.

Barr had asserted in a letter just two days after reviewing the report that the special counsel “did not find” coordination between Trump campaign associates and Russian agents. Mueller pushed back, noting that Barr’s rollout “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this Office’s work and conclusions.”

William Vaillancourt

William Vaillancourt

William Vaillancourt is a writer and editor from New Hampshire whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Progressive, Slate and Areo Magazine, among other places. He holds a BA in Political Science and History from Boston University.