'Deceit' vs 'by the book': Legal experts weigh differences between Barr and Garland
Merrick Garland (Screen Grab)

Legal experts compared the handling of politically sensitive reports by attorney general Merrick Garland and his predecessor William Barr, and they noted some stark differences.

Garland released a 306-page report from the Barr-appointed special counsel John Durham, who examined the federal investigations of Donald Trump's ties to Russia, on Monday, just three days after it landed on his desk, and did not offer his own analysis or summary -- unlike the controversial memo issued by his predecessor, reported the Washington Post.

“The difference in the rollout was stark,” said Mary McCord, who served as acting assistant attorney general for national security in Barack Obama’s administration. “Garland did what he said he would do when he maintained the special counsel appointment of Durham. He let him continue his work independent of the department.”

"By contrast, she said, Barr’s memo 'was a deceit on the American people,'" the Post reported.

RELATED: 'Don't fall for it': Legal expert flags Durham report's glaring omissions

Barr issued a brief memo describing the principal conclusions in special counsel Robert Mueller's report in spring 2019, but it took weeks before most of the findings were made public, and Mueller privately complained the attorney general's memo lacked context and Democrats accused Barr of tilting the scale in Trump's favor on questions about possible obstruction of justice.

“[Garland] played it by the book — minimum redactions, quick release of the total report — and left the public to draw its own conclusion," said Anthony Coley, a former Justice Department spokesman for Garland. "That’s how it should be done.”

"[He was tasked with] landing Barr’s plane — this politically motivated investigation that was meant to appease a sitting president — and to do so in a way that didn’t further politicize the department,” Coley added.

Mueller's investigation resulted in 34 indictments, including seven Americans, 26 Russians, three Russian organizations and one Dutchman, and resulted in several convictions, while Durham's probe resulted in two cases that ended in acquittals and a guilty plea that carried no jail time.

“If the goal was those multiple indictments, he failed miserably,” said Frank Figliuzzi, a former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence. “The consolation seems to be sound bites in a political product for Fox News.”