CNN's Toobin: Mueller's 'scathing' letter to Barr 'not a polite letter among old friends'

CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin on Wednesday described Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSchiff: Trump acquittal in Senate trial would not signal a 'failure' Jeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay MORE‘s letter to Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham Barr DOJ says surveillance of Trump campaign adviser Page lacked evidence Senators press DHS over visa approval for Pensacola naval base shooter Democrats sharpen case on second day of arguments MORE as "scathing" and "outraged" after the former special counsel complained that Barr's four-page summary “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of his final report.

Barr on Wednesday testified for more than four hours before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding his handling of the Mueller report after it was submitted to him in March.

ADVERTISEMENT

Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday released the letter Mueller sent to Barr in which the special counsel expressed frustration with Barr's summary of the Russia investigation.

“That is a scathing, outraged letter,” Toobin said of the Mueller letter. “Accusing the attorney general of completely distorting and lying to the public about what Mueller spent two years on.”

“I mean, that is not a polite letter among old friends. That is an accusation of political interference in Mueller’s work,” he continued. “That is not a routine letter in any sense of the word.”

Toobin went on to say Mueller was claiming that “the fix was in.” 

"Let’s be clear about what Mueller is saying," Toobin concluded. "That the fix was in and he is saying that Barr deliberately distorted his conclusions for the political gain of the president. That’s what that letter says in plain English.”

Mueller’s letter that was leaked to The Washington Post on Tuesday night also spoke of "public confusion about critical aspects" of results of the investigation.

“The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office’s work and conclusions," the Mueller letter reads.

“There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation,” the letter continued. “This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations.”

Democrats on Wednesday slammed Barr during the marathon hearing.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said that Barr, who also served as Attorney General under President George H.W. Bush, seemed to be the "designated fall guy" for the report.

During the four-hour long hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Democrats seized on the explosive revelation that special counsel Mueller had criticized Barr’s summary in writing. Some suggested Barr was no longer fit to serve as attorney general.

“I think history will judge you harshly, and maybe a bit unfairly,” Blumenthal (D-Conn.) told Barr.

“You seem to be the designated fall guy for this report, and I think that conclusion is inescapable in light of the four-page summary, and then the press conference you did on the day [the report] was released.”

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzDemocrats sharpen case on second day of arguments What to watch for on Day 3 of Senate impeachment trial Democrats' impeachment case lands with a thud with GOP — but real audience is voters MORE (R-Texas) defended Barr, saying the attorney general was being unfairly treated while bringing up the explosive confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughCollins walks impeachment tightrope Supreme Court sharply divided over state aid for religious schools How Citizens United altered America's political landscape MORE, who had been accused of sexual misconduct. Kavanaugh staunchly denied the claims and was ultimately confirmed in Oct. 2018.

“You stepped forward and answered the call yet again, knowing full well that you would be subject to the slanderish treatment — the Kavanaugh treatment — that we have seen, of senators impugning your integrity,” Cruz said.