Another deep state “leak” has hit the tape, and as usual it has gone to the WaPo and NYT almost at the exact same time… but this it’s even more laughable than usual.
In what the WaPo breathlessly reports late on Tuesday was a rebuke and “complaint” to Attorney General William Barr, special counsel Robert Mueller sent a letter to the AG in late March, just days after Barr sent out his summary to Congress, in which Mueller stated that Barr’s 4-page summary to Congress on the sweeping Russia investigation failed to “fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of Mueller’s work and conclusions, citing a copy of the letter it had obtained using its trusted deep intel sources.
This is what Mueller said to Barr, according to the leaked NSA intercept:
“There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation. This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations.”
And if one reads just that, it certainly does not look good for Attorney General Barr, especially just one day before his first official Congressional hearing on the topic of the Mueller report: so bad that even the absolute lunatic fringe of conspiracygate – which had mercifully shut up for the past month with its daily predictions that this member of the Trump clan is going to jail, or that website will be shut down – has roared back into life with the sage assessment that “this is bad.”
Pouring more fuel on the fire, the always pithy Axios adds that “this revelation about Mueller’s dissatisfaction with the characterization of his report will likely escalate the growing rift over Barr’s handling of the special counsel’s investigation. House Democrats, who have expressed distrust in the attorney general, are set to vote on Wednesday to allow House Judiciary Committee lawyers to question Barr at Thursday’s hearing.”
Or maybe not, and perhaps the WaPo/NYT report is not “so bad” if one actually reads it, because once the breathless WaPo finally does come up for air, we get to paragraph 13 – a point by which most readers have turned out – to read the following real punchline in the WaPo report:
When Barr pressed Mueller on whether he thought Barr’s memo to Congress was inaccurate, Mueller said he did not…
So, Mueller felt there was confusion… but he did not think the memo was inaccurate. Wait, what’s going on here and how is this even a story? Well, if we read the rest of the above sentence, we find the true object of Mueller’s “complaint”:
[Mueller] felt that the media coverage of it was misinterpreting the investigation, officials said.
Which means that, as the WaPo itself reports, what Mueller was really angry with was the coverage of his report by media such as… the WaPo and the NYT?? The irony, it burns.
But wait, because if one reads even further – and yes, we know most Russiagaters have troubles getting beyond sentence one so they are excused – we find that throughout a subsequent 15 minutes telephone conversation between the special counsel and the attorney general, Mueller’s main worry was “that the public was not getting an accurate understanding of the obstruction investigation.”
This goes back to what Mueller’s letter requested: “that Barr release the 448-page report’s introductions and executive summaries, and made some initial suggested redactions for doing so, according to Justice Department officials,” the WaPo writes.
What happened then? A few weeks later Barr did just that, and absent occasional redactions – some of which apparently revealed that Russia had taped Bill Clinton having phone sex with Monica Lewinsky – he did just that.
So if Mueller thought Barr’s memo was not inaccurate, and his ire was instead targeted at the media for “misinterpreting the investigation” – although it remains unclear just how they did this, after all Mueller does not dispute that there was no collusion (yes, Russiagaters, that means you) and did not dispute Barr’s conclusion of no obstruction – then what is the point of these two rather confused pieces? Well, as noted above, tomorrow Barr is scheduled to testify on Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the investigation, and the entire article is meant to focus on the headlines of the WaPo (and NYT) article, and certainly not on paragraph 13 which, not only refutes the prevailing tone that Barr did something wrong, but in fact exonerates him. But that won’t have any impact on tomorrow’s hearing which is now assured to be a complete kangaroo court.
As for tonight’s really big, if unspoken, story – if this is the best leak Mueller has to defy Barr and the president, then Trump has indeed won.