Blumenthal: Barr's Summary Of Mueller Report Was A "Lie To The American People"


Sen. Richard Blumenthal joins CNN's Anderson Cooper to react to the news that special counsel Robert Mueller expressed concerns in a letter to Attorney General William Barr that Barr's four-page letter to Congress summarizing the "principal conclusions" of Mueller's findings didn't fully capture his 448-page report, according to a source with knowledge of Mueller's letter.

ANDERSON COOPER: Joining us now is Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, member of the Judiciary Committee, and back with us, is also CNN Chief Legal Analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, who I know also has some questions for the senator.

Senator Blumenthal, what is your reaction to this new reporting about the letter from Mueller to Barr and the phone call from Mueller to Barr?

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: This letter is unquestionably and unprecedented stunning rebuke of the attorney general of the United States, very severely undermining, in fact devastating his credibility now in the Department of Justice, and likely tomorrow in our hearing. There is going to be some tough questioning of him tomorrow about not only his four-page summary, which then Mueller said in effect mischaracterized his report, but then why he doubled down three weeks later in a press conference and in effect lied again to the American people. I realize that characterization sounds harsh. We said it at the time.

Now, we have Bob Mueller himself saying in effect that William Barr's characterization was deceptive and misleading, in effect a lie to the American people. And that's going to be reframing and adding a new dimension entirely to the questioning tomorrow.

COOPER: It certainly only raises the interest, I'm sure, by Democrats at the very least to hear directly from Robert Mueller in hearings and also I assume as part of that to get hold of this letter that he wrote.

BLUMENTHAL: No question that we need to hear from Bob Mueller who, as you know, is the penultimate in discretion. He conducted this investigation without any public disclosure and now really strikingly puts in the file, writes to the attorney general, memorializes his objections and rebuke to his superior.

I can think of no prior instance of this kind of very severe rebuke to the attorney general of the United States from a career prosecutor with this kind of respect within the Department of Justice.

COOPER: It's one thing for him to put out the summary and then to have Mueller respond with the criticism that he does and then to choose not to put out the summaries that the -- the explanations that Mueller and his team have already sent, which according to Mueller don't need to be redacted and are free from that pressure.

For him to then go on television again the day the report is released and to shade the truth even more seems even now particularly more egregious.

BLUMENTHAL: Shading the truth is a very, very kind and charitable way to put it. He in effect lied to the American people saying that Bob Mueller concluded there was insufficient evidence of obstruction. The fact of the matter is that Bob Mueller said nothing of the kind. In effect he said that this report is an indictment in all but name.

If Donald Trump were any other official, if there were no office of legal counsel memorandum saying a sitting president cannot be indicted, he would be under indictment right now. And, in fact, he is an unindicted co-conspirator in the Southern District of New York prosecution.

You're absolutely right, Anderson, that three weeks after this rebuke from Bob Mueller, William Barr went again before the American people and distorted, deceived, misled them.

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