MSNBC's host Chris Matthews criticized Attorney General William Barr, saying his March 24 memo to Congress that summarized the conclusions of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Trump-Russia collusion had a "soft landing" and was "deflated in its political impact because of skullduggery by an attorney general."
Matthews accused Barr of lying and distorting the Mueller investigation's findings after The Washington Post published an article claiming Mueller expressed frustrations to Barr about the lack of context in which Barr's summary was delivered to the public.
"I hate to call it a lie, but it seems like one," Matthews said on Hardball Tuesday, saying Barr's memo distorted Mueller's findings in the investigation by not distinguishing that the special counsel did not indict President Donald Trump not because he was exonerated from any wrongdoing, but because Mueller was following the guidelines laid out by the Justice Department.
Mueller told Barr, in a letter sent to him days after the memo to Congress was released, that his summary “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of the investigation. Mueller lamented to Barr that the "media coverage of the letter was misinterpreting the investigation" but that he did not think Barr's summary was necessarily inaccurate, according to the Post.
Matthews, in his nearly hour-long coverage of the Post report, insisted that Barr’s memo changed the meaning of Mueller’s investigation and findings entirely.
“Clearly, the Mueller report if you had gotten it cold without going through the distillation process and marination process of Mr. Barr and Rosenstein, you would have gotten a report that said the President’s guilty of obstruction of justice,” Matthew said.
Barr is testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday about the investigation.
Political pundits on the left expressed outrage after the Post report was released and blamed Barr for giving the president more reason to claim the findings of the Mueller report exonerated him from any wrongdoing.
The full redacted Mueller report, released on April 18, suggests otherwise.
“If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state,” the report said. “Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment.”