Washington (CNN)A federal judge Thursday criticized Attorney General William Barr for his handling of the Mueller report when it was released last spring, saying Barr’s early description of the report didn’t match the special counsel’s actual conclusions.
Judge Reggie Walton asked if Barr’s actions were a “calculated attempt” to help President Donald Trump and opined the attorney general had a “lack of candor” with the public and Congress.
“The Court cannot reconcile certain public representations made by Attorney General Barr with the findings in the Mueller Report,” Walton wrote on Thursday. Barr’s initial publicly announced interpretation of the findings from former special counsel Robert Mueller “cause the Court to seriously question whether Attorney General Barr made a calculated attempt to influence public discourse about the Mueller Report in favor of President Trump despite certain findings in the redacted version of the Mueller Report to the contrary.”
Barr has been under fire for months for his apparent political moves to protect the President and his allies from within the Justice Department.
Walton said he will review the full Mueller report himself to make sure the Justice Department didn’t over-redact it for public release.
Walton said he was “troubled” by Barr’s initial, quickly released letter clearing the President of wrongdoing and distancing his campaign from Russian interference in American politics. Walton also took issue with Barr’s press conference about Mueller’s findings and other public statements before the report was made public.
“The speed by which Attorney General Barr released to the public the summary of Special Counsel Mueller’s principal conclusions, coupled with the fact that Attorney General Barr failed to provide a thorough representation of the findings set forth in the Mueller Report, causes the Court to question whether Attorney General Barr’s intent was to create a one-sided narrative about the Mueller Report — a narrative that is clearly in some respects substantively at odds with the redacted version of the Mueller Report,” Walton wrote.
Barr took two days last March after Mueller gave him his findings to announce in a letter that Mueller “did not find” that any Trump campaign associates coordinated with Russian interference in the election, and that Mueller “did not draw a conclusion –one way or the other” about whether Trump obstructed ju