Ex-Watergate prosecutor says Barr presented a 'mischaracterization' of Mueller report

Former Watergate special prosecutor Richard Ben-Veniste said in an interview that aired Tuesday on "Rising" that Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrPapadopoulos on AG's new powers: 'Trump is now on the offense' House Democrats must insist that Robert Mueller testifies publicly Why Mueller may be fighting a public hearing on Capitol Hill MORE gave the American people a "mischaracterization of the conclusions" in special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump orders more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions Trump: Democrats just want Mueller to testify for a 'do-over' Graham: Mueller investigation a 'political rectal exam' MORE's report into Russia's election meddling. 

"What he gave them was a mischaracterization of the conclusions of that report," Ben-Veniste told Hill.TV's Jamal Simmons on Monday, adding that Barr was "banking on the ... suspicion that most Americans will be too lazy to read the report." 

"It certainly doesn't show that the president was entirely cooperative. It shows that the president refused to testify under oath, [and] refused to sit down for an interview," he said. "So how is that cooperative?" 

The Justice Department released a redacted version of Mueller's report last week, which said that the Trump campaign did not conspire or coordinate with Russians during the 2016 presidential election. Investigators did not reach a decision on whether President TrumpDonald John TrumpPapadopoulos on AG's new powers: 'Trump is now on the offense' Pelosi uses Trump to her advantage Mike Pence delivers West Point commencement address MORE obstructed justice in the probe. 

Democrats argue that Barr botched the rollout of the report, and has worked to protect Trump publicly, citing the attorney general's comments. 

— Julia Manchester