‘How the heck does he determine’ there wasn’t obstruction?: Ex-solicitor general slams Barr’s letter on Mueller probe
Former acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal on MSNBC (screengrab)

Former acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal explained why Americans should question the findings of Attorney General William Barr's letter to Cogress following the completion of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.


Katyal joined MSNBC anchor Katy Tur for analysis after Barr's letter was released.

"This is going to come down to trust. Do you trust the assessment of Attorney General William Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein?" Tur asked.

"I really wanted to trust them, but quite honestly this letter caused me much more concern, grave concerns really," Katyal replied.

"Because remember Mueller -- after two years of investigation -- doesn't draw a conclusion one way or another on obstruction of justice, saying there's evidence on both sides. And then you have Attorney General Barr -- within 48 hours of receiving this -- saying 'I conclude that the evidence isn't there' and in particular not evidence of Trump's intent," he explained.

"Now how the heck does he determine that after 48 hours -- after a two-year investigation -- and particularly without even trying to interview trump, if the whole question is Trump's state of mind," he continued.

"I expect any reasonable prosecutor to try and get that information -- that appears not to have been done, there's nothing in the letter about that," he noted. "I think there is going to be a fear among the American public there's been a whitewash here."

But absolutely, the letter raises far more concerns than it does provide answers," he concluded.

"I hate saying that, but I have to say, given what Barr found on obstruction of justice, I think all of us should be very concerned even-handedness of the way this investigation was treated," Katyal added.

"I think there is reason to be very concerned, given what he wrote here -- that you have a two-year investigation and Mueller doesn't make the final determination -- says there's evidence on both sides -- and then you have Barr swoop in and within 48 hours make a decision," he continued. "There is something deeply troubling about that, and it's the same troubling thing identified during the Barr hearings, which is he wrote this kooky 19-page memo which said, effectively, presidents can't obstruct justice.

"I'm worried that this is part of that ludicrous legal view. i don't know what Barr's ultimate decisions were here because he doesn't tell us and that's the point.

"The American public needs to know -- Congress needs to know -- how exactly did he conclude there was no obstruction of justice and if it's really about the lack of intent on the part of Trump, how the heck could he know that when he didn't even try and interview Trump?" Katyal concluded.

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