A Side-by-Side Comparison of Barr’s vs. Mueller’s Statements about Special Counsel Report

Wednesday marks one week since Robert Mueller broke his silence and made a formal statement on the special counsel’s report on the 2016 Russian election interference.

The Chart below compares Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s May 29 public statement with statements made by Attorney General William Barr.

Whether or not Mueller was intentionally trying to correct the record, the differences between what he and Barr said are, in many cases, stark. Some of the differences involve near complete contradictions—in other words Mueller’s statement and Barr’s statements cannot both be true. Other differences are more a matter of emphasis or tone (e.g., references to the threat posed by the Russian operations, descriptions of the qualities of the special counsel staff).

The special counsel’s Report also contradicts some of Barr’s statements (such as his claim that the Report found no evidence of “collusion,” his suggestion that difficult issues of law and fact stopped the special counsel from concluding the president engaged in criminal obstruction, his claim that the President cooperate fully with the investigation). The following analysis, however, does not include the Report. Instead, it focuses only on Mueller’s public statement and how it compares to statements made by Barr between March 22 (the date that the special counsel handed his final report to the attorney general) and May 29 (the date of Mueller’s statement). This includes statements made by Barr in his 4-page summary submitted to Congress, a formal press briefing, and three congressional hearings, but it does not include Barr’s interviews with Fox News and the Wall Street Journal.

Chart: A Side-by-Side Comparison of Barr’s vs. Mueller’s Statements About Special Counsel Report on 2016 Ru… by Just Security on Scribd

Images: left – Win McNamee/Getty; right – Chip Somodevilla/Getty

  

About the Author(s)

Ryan Goodman

Co-Editor-in-Chief of Just Security, Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Professor of Law at New York University School of Law, former Special Counsel to the General Counsel of the Department of Defense (2015-2016). You can follow him on Twitter @rgoodlaw.