President Donald Trump’s nominee to be Attorney General sent the Department of Justice a 20-page, unsolicited memo warning against investigating Trump for obstruction of justice, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday evening.
William Barr said special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into obstruction of justice was based on a “fatally misconceived” theory.
The June 8 memo was sent to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing the Mueller probe.
“As I understand it, his theory is premised on a novel and legally insupportable reading of the law,” Barr wrote. “Moreover, in my view, if credited by the Justice Department, it would have grave consequences far beyond the immediate confines of this case and would do lasting damage to the Presidency and to the administration of law within the Executive branch.”
He reportedly described Mueller’s approach as “grossly irresponsible” and warned of “potentially disastrous implications” for the White House.
“Mueller should not be permitted to demand that the President submit to interrogation about alleged obstruction,” he added.
“I know you will agree that, if a DOJ investigation is going to take down a democratically-elected President, it is imperative to the health of our system and to our national cohesion that any claim of wrongdoing is solidly based on evidence of a real crime—not a debatable one,” he wrote. “It is time to travel well-worn paths; not to veer into novel, unsettled or contested areas of the law; and not to indulge the fancies by overly-zealous prosecutors.”
Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec claimed that DOJ ethics officials determined the memo did not pose a conflict to his appointment.