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Justice Department defends Barr's summary of Mueller report

In a new statement, Department of Justice spokesperson Kerri Kupec defended Attorney General Bill Barr's letter to Congress summarizing his "principal conclusions" from the Mueller report, reiterating that it was not an attempt to summarize the report itself.

"Every page of the 'confidential report' provided to Attorney General Barr on March 22, 2019 was marked 'May Contain Material Protected Under Fed. R. Crim. P. 6(e)' - a law that protects confidential grand jury information - and therefore could not be publicly released. Given the extraordinary public interest in the matter, the Attorney General decided to release the report's bottom-line findings and is conclusions immediately — without attempting to summarize the report — with the understanding that the report itself would be released after the redaction process. As the Attorney General stated in his March 29th letter to Chairman Graham and Chairman Nadler, he does not believe the report should be released in 'serial or piecemeal fashion.' The Department continues to work with the Special Counsel on appropriate redactions to the report so that it can be released to Congress and the public."

The backdrop: The new statement follows reports in the New York Times and Washington Post that members of special counsel Robert Mueller's team were upset that Barr did not adequately summarize the report in his letter. Some Mueller investigators have reportedly told associates that their findings were more troubling for President Trump than Attorney General William Barr has indicated.