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Special counsel Robert Mueller. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

In a rebuke to Attorney General William Barr, special counsel Robert Mueller sent a letter last month stating 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, the Washington Post reports, citing a copy of the letter it obtained.

"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."
— The letter from Mueller to Barr reads, according to the Post

Why it matters: 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.

  • Barr is also scheduled to testify on Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the probe.

Details: On March 24, Barr sent Congress his summary of the "principal conclusions" from the Mueller probe, saying that the special counsel's report found no criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 presidential election, and that Mueller had not reached a conclusion about whether Trump had tried to obstruct justice.

  • After Barr’s announcement, Mueller wrote the previously unknown private letter to the Justice Department, which the Post has reviewed. Citing people familiar with the discussions, the Post reports that it "revealed a degree of dissatisfaction with the public discussion of Mueller’s work that shocked senior" DOJ officials.
  • "The letter made a key request: 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 Post writes.
  • Mueller wrote that the redaction process "need not delay release of the enclosed materials. Release at this time would alleviate the misunderstandings that have arisen and would answer congressional and public questions about the nature and outcome of our investigation."

After Mueller sent the letter to the DOJ, he reportedly spoke with Barr by phone for about 15 minutes. DOJ officials told the Post that Mueller said that news coverage of the obstruction probe was erroneous, and that the public failed to get an accurate understanding of his work.

Per the Post: "When Barr pressed him whether he thought Barr’s letter was inaccurate, Mueller said he did not but felt that the media coverage of the letter was misinterpreting the investigation, officials said."

Go deeper

20 mins ago - Politics & Policy

GOP fights itself on shutdown politics

Reporters question Senate Minority Whip John Thune before the Republican Party's weekly lunch on Tuesday. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

GOP leaders on Capitol Hill are scrambling to reach a deal with a bloc of 15 Senate Republicans threatening a government shutdown to force a fight over the Biden administration's vaccine mandates.

Why it matters: The push to defund the mandates — by holding the short-term government funding bill hostageis largely symbolic, and highly controversial within the Republican Party. A shutdown as early as midnight Friday could trigger everything from national park closures to delays in receiving Social Security checks.

Stacey Abrams launches second campaign for Georgia governor

Photo: Eze Amos/Getty Images

Stacey Abrams, voting rights activist and former 2018 candidate for Georgia governor, is running for the position again in 2022. Abrams would be the first Black female governor in the country.

Why it matters: Abrams caught national attention in 2018 by narrowly losing an election to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in a state held firmly by the GOP for nearly two decades.

First known U.S. case of Omicron variant identified in California

Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks during the daily briefing at the White House on Dec. 1. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

The first known U.S. case of the Omicron variant was detected in California, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Wednesday.

Driving the news: The confirmed case was detected in a traveler returning from South Africa who was fully vaccinated and has mild symptoms, according to the CDC.