Former federal prosecutor Maya Wiley called out Attorney General Bill Barr for misleading the American public that he would release the special counsel's report on the Russia investigation.
In the weeks leading up to the release of the report from Robert Mueller, both the attorney general and President Donald Trump pledged to be transparent about the report. Legal scholars noted that as an institutionalist, Mueller likely followed the rules that the Justice Department cannot indict a sitting president. Instead of making a determination, Mueller reportedly left the question open and instead provided the evidence needed for Congress to act.
"Call it obstruction, call it abuse of authority, either way, it may amount to the same thing, which is Congress should decide whether a sitting president has done something that requires action," Wiley said during an MSNBC panel discussion. "But because we haven't seen those summaries, what we're hearing in the reporting is summaries that would have been able to be released quickly that would have given a fuller, more fulsome picture of the decision."
Former federal prosecutor Berit Berger agreed, noting that the Mueller office knew that the report would be disclosed and they wrote the report intending for summaries of each section to be easily released without the need for redactions.
Wiley said she thinks Barr's decision not to disclose the report and instead release his own interpretation of the report because he's "motivated by his very strong belief in his version and interpretation of the law that this is a sitting president who should not be getting the scrutiny he's getting."
"And using his position as attorney general, which I think part of the confirmation hearing process was questioning on how he would use that position given that unsolicited memo," she continued. "And what he said was 'I will be as transparent as the law allows.' If that was true, there's much more we would have seen already in the public view."
The Department of Justice released its own response to the New York Times about the slowness of the release of the report. They still maintain they'll reveal the report to the public eventually.
Watch the full commentary below: