Special counsel Robert Mueller likely wrote his own conclusions and summary, according to one federal prosecutor. For some reason, however, Attorney General Bill Barr didn’t release it and opted for something like a White House “press release” instead.
In a Sunday analysis with MSNBC’s Ari Melber, former federal prosecutor John Flannery wondered why there are still so many unknowns about the Mueller report. His first example was that Americans don’t even know how many pages there are.
“We didn’t get an executive summary from the report,” she said. “We have what really looks like a press release that didn’t get ready in time for the Sunday talk shows. So, that could have a romp through a very his misleading document… And I bet you that knowing the way Mueller works, there was probably an executive summary, and there was probably a set of conclusions.”
Melber noted that Flannery is a “pretty good lawyer” and asked if the longer the report the “worse Barr might look for trying to pull this off by Sunday night?”
“Absolutely. And consider the fact that we have — you have pointed this out — you have these partial quotes,” Flannery continued. “Well, what if the quote on page three, ‘while this report does not conclude that the president did not commit a crime it also doesn’t exonerate him.’ He said ‘the report.’ He didn’t say ‘as to the question of the obstruction of justice.’ He said, ‘the report.’ The whole report doesn’t conclude he committed a crime.”
Melber got into the punctuation of the Barr letter that quotes the “best sentence” that does or does not exonerate Trump. He noted that the quote from Mueller began in the middle of a sentence in the Mueller report. He could tell because the word “the” began with a bracketed capital “t.”
As the report states: “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”
“So, it is the one that you are going hear the most of,” Melber said.
“That it wasn’t the beginning of a sentence,” Flannery agreed. “Something preceded it. And they put the bracket there as the beginning with a capital T.”
Melber said that a lawyer might change the meaning of it by beginning the sentence in any manner of ways.
“A lot of the comments afterward — there is no evidence,” Flannery continued. “They never say that even in this P.R. construct. They say, ‘The investigation did not establish…’ OK, it did not establish this crime? Well, what was your standard? Was it beyond a reasonable doubt, which is not the standard for a grand jury or any investigation I ever ran when you begin it because the case continues and you get more evidence and people cooperate and people drop off. So, that is not the standard. Also did not establish according to what crime? When they issued these thousands of subpoenas, everyone probably, at least said, Section 371 which is a conspiracy charge. They don’t tell us what the charge is.”
He also concluded that Barr probably shouldn’t have gone near commenting about obstructions of justice.
“You make a judgment when somebody takes the stand you never heard before,” Flannery said. “Are they a truth teller or not and you operate on that premise when you question them. In this case, we know in the second part when they are talking about whether or not there is obstruction — that is a very funny paragraph there. And it is like Barr couldn’t restrain himself from spiking this thing when he shouldn’t have touched it at all as to whether or not there was any obstruction.”
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