Leaked WH Letter to William Barr Exposes Their True Feelings of Robert Mueller
Attorney General William Barr is fending off criticisms from lawmakers and pundits who say that he’s gotten too comfortable in his executive branch role, and is behaving more like an attorney working on behalf of the president rather, than the head of the Justice Department.
However, although previous reporting from HillReporter.com demonstrated that President Donald Trump is supposedly very happy to finally have an attorney general who is “loyal” to him, it’s possible that the White House may have had its concerns prior to this past week.
Axios reported on Thursday that Emmet Flood, a White House lawyer, sent Barr a scathing rebuke of special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report regarding coordination and obstruction allegations against the president.WHSC-to-AG-4-19-19
Flood, writing “on behalf of the Office of the President,” said in his letter to Barr, sent the day after the redacted version of the Mueller report was made public, that Mueller’s method of investigation — including the “inverted-proof standard and ‘exoneration’ statements” — were political in nature.
“The inverted burden of proof knowingly embedded in the SCO’s conclusion shows that the Special Counsel and his staff failed in their duty to act as prosecutors and only as prosecutors,” Flood wrote.
Flood also took issue with Mueller not answering, one way or another, whether charges of obstruction of justice against Trump were warranted in the report.
Mueller heavily implied that the president’s actions were troublesome and possibly illegal. “If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state,” he wrote in the report, per reporting from Time. “Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment.”
Flood chastised Mueller’s refusal to make a decision.
“In closing its investigation, the [special counsel] had only one job — to ‘provide the attorney General with a confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions reached by the Special Counsel,'” Flood wrote.
Flood further complained that Mueller’s report bucked tradition. “A great deal is said these days about the rule of law and the importance of legal norms,” he wrote — an ironic statement, given that Trump’s very candidacy bucked the established norms, and his presidency is, in many observers’ minds, violating laws and standards that every president is meant to adhere to.
Whether or not Flood’s letter was meant to put Barr in line with the administration’s views on the Mueller report is unknown. But the pointed letter from Flood demonstrates that the White House wanted to express its doubts about the major findings of the investigation, and also wanted Barr to be well-aware of the qualms they had with Mueller’s methods.