Barr Questions Why Mueller Probed For Obstruction Then Never Ruled On It

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May 1, 2019 11:20 a.m.

Attorney General William Barr took a swipe at special counsel Robert Mueller during his Senate Judiciary hearing Wednesday, questioning why Mueller continued to investigate episodes of President Trump potentially obstructing justice if he was not going to come to a conclusion about it.

“And the other thing that was confusing to me is that the investigation carried on for a while as additional episodes were looked into, episodes involving the President,” Barr said. “And so my question is or was, why were those investigated if, at the end of the day, you weren’t going to reach a decision on them?”

Barr hit the same point again later, saying: “I think that if he felt that he shouldn’t go down the path of making a traditional prosecutive decision, then he shouldn’t have investigated. That was the time to pull up.”

He also expressed his “surprise” that Mueller let him come to a conclusion on the obstruction question. In reality, Mueller did not decide whether or not President Donald Trump obstructed justice, in part, because he believes that a sitting president cannot be indicted. Barr took it upon himself to decide that Trump did not obstruct.

A letter leaked Tuesday shows that Mueller was concerned about that conclusion, saying that Barr’s four-page depiction of his full report did not accurately portray the complexities of the thought process by the special counsel’s office on the question.

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