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Leahy complains Trump attorney general's testimony was 'misleading'

Leahy complains Trump attorney general's testimony was 'misleading'
© Greg Nash

Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyTop GOP senator warns government funding deal unlikely this week Incoming Congress looks more like America The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump OKs transition; Biden taps Treasury, State experience MORE (D-Vt.) complained that past testimony from Attorney General William BarrBill BarrList of Republicans breaking with Trump grows longer Trump blasts special counsel Durham for moving too slowly Trump rants against election results for 46 minutes in new video post MORE related to special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerBarr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting MORE's report was "misleading" during a pointed moment at Wednesday's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

Leahy said that he was “somewhat troubled” by Barr’s April 9 testimony.

In that testimony, Barr said he didn't now where media reports were coming from that said Mueller's team had concerns with his characterization of their report.

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“Now we know, contrary to what you said April 9, that on March 27 Robert Mueller wrote to you expressing very specific concerns that your March 24 letter … failed to capture the context, nature and substance of his report,” Leahy said.

“Why did you testify on April 9 that you didn’t know the concerns?” Leahy asked.

Barr defended his response, saying that he had responded to a question “relating to unidentified members who were expressing frustration to the accuracy relating to the findings,” but that he was not aware of those concerns.

“I spoke to Bob Mueller, not members of his team,” Barr said. “And I did not know what was being referred to, and Mueller had never told me that the expression of the findings was inaccurate.”

“Mr. Barr, I feel that your answer was purposely misleading and I think others do too,” Leahy replied.

Mueller sent a letter to Barr on March 27 that criticized how Barr had summarized his team's findings. That letter only became public knowledge on Tuesday night.

In the letter, Mueller said Barr's initial summary letter "did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this Office's work and conclusions."

"There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation. 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," the letter reads.

Barr defended his handling of the Mueller report during his testimony Wednesday, saying that the special counsel told him that his summary letter of the bottom-line conclusions was accurate, but that media coverage surrounding it was not.