Timeline: Barr, Mueller and the Trump probe

Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrTrump walks tightrope on gun control Feinstein calls on Justice to push for release of Trump whistleblower report Clarence Thomas, Joe Manchin, Rudy Giuliani among guests at second state visit under Trump MORE’s handling of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerLewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Fox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network Mueller report fades from political conversation MORE’s report has dominated the headlines this week.

Barr delivered closely watched testimony on Capitol Hill to defend his decisions with the report involving President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump's top adviser on Asia to serve as deputy national security adviser United Auto Workers strike against GM poised to head into eighth day Trump doubles down on call to investigate Biden after whistleblower complaint: 'That's the real story' MORE, while new details have emerged about the private interactions between the attorney general and special counsel.

Here is a timeline cataloguing Barr’s appointment and oversight of the Mueller investigation.


June 8, 2018: Barr, months before he would be tapped to serve as attorney general, pens a memo to the Justice Department and the White House describing Mueller’s obstruction inquiry as being based on a “fatally misconceived” theory.

December 7, 2018: President Trump nominates Barr as his second attorney general following the ouster of Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump reignites court fight with Ninth Circuit pick Democrats press Nadler to hold Lewandowski in contempt Pelosi: Lewandowski should have been held in contempt 'right then and there' MORE, the top Justice Department official whom Trump had long bashed over his recusal in the federal Russia probe.

January 15, 2019: Barr testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee as part of his confirmation process and fields questions about his intentions related to the special counsel probe. He describes his longtime friendship with Mueller and commits to releasing as much information about the investigation as possible.

February 14, 2019: Barr is confirmed by a largely party-line 54-45 vote in the Senate. Three Democrats break ranks to support his nomination.

March 22, 2019: Mueller ends his 22-month long investigation and files his confidential report to Barr.

March 24, 2019: Barr releases a four-page letter outlining the principal conclusions of the Mueller report, revealing Mueller did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with Russia and that Mueller did not reach a conclusion on whether Trump obstructed justice. Barr writes that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinLewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Nadler's House committee holds a faux hearing in search of a false crime House Democrats seeking Sessions's testimony in impeachment probe MORE reviewed the evidence and determined it to be insufficient to accuse Trump of an obstruction-of-justice offense.

March 25, 2019: Mueller sends a letter to Barr asking the attorney general to release introductions and executive summaries from his report — with specified redactions — to Congress and the public. This letter has not been publicly released.

March 27, 2019: Mueller sends another letter to Barr, writing that his four-page memo from three days earlier “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of his investigation or its findings and spurred “public confusion about critical aspects” of the results. Mueller again asks Barr to release more information from the report.

March 28, 2019: Barr calls Mueller to discuss his letter. The attorney general would later recall to senators, "I said, 'Bob, what’s with the letter? Why don’t you just pick up the phone and call me if there’s an issue?'"

The attorney general later claimed that Mueller told him on the call that his memo did not misstate the special counsel's conclusions but expressed concerns about the media coverage of the letter and asked for more information to be released to provide more context.

April 3, 2019: The New York Times publishes a bombshell story that some investigators on Mueller’s team felt Barr did not adequately portray the details of the report and did not convey the gravity of the evidence with respect to the president’s conduct as detailed in the obstruction section. The Times story, citing government officials and other sources, immediately intensified Democrats’ calls for the full Mueller report to be released.

April 9, 2019: Barr indicates during a House appropriations hearing that he wasn’t specifically aware of concerns among members of Mueller’s team about his four-page memo as detailed in news reports.

“Reports have emerged recently, [attorney] general, that members of the special counsel’s team are frustrated at some level with the limited information included in your March 24th letter, that it does not adequately or accurately, necessarily, portray the report’s findings,” Rep. Charlie CristCharles (Charlie) Joseph CristThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump's new controversy Florida Rep. Charlie Crist endorses Biden Pelosi says she'll no longer address anything Barr says MORE (D-Fla.) asked at the hearing. “Do you know what they’re referencing with that?”

“No, I don’t,” Barr said. “I suspect that they probably wanted more put out, but in my view, I was not interested in putting out summaries or trying to summarize.”

April 18, 2019: Barr delivers a press conference and releases Mueller’s 448-page report. Roughly 10 percent of it is redacted to restrict grand jury material, information about ongoing investigations, national security material and details on third parties.

April 19, 2019: White House lawyer Emmett Flood issues an extended criticism of Mueller’s report in a letter to Barr, describing the document as suffering from “an extraordinary legal defect” and rebuking the special counsel for explicitly stating that his investigation did not “exonerate” Trump on allegations of obstruction of justice.

“Because they do not belong to our criminal justice vocabulary, the [special counsel office’s] inverted-proof-standard and ‘exoneration’ statements can be understood only as political statements, issuing from persons (federal prosecutors) who in our system of government are rightly expected never to be political in the performance of their duties,” Flood writes.

April 19, 2019: House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerLewandowski: House testimony shows I'd be 'a fighter' in the Senate Pelosi: Lewandowski should have been held in contempt 'right then and there' Nadler's House committee holds a faux hearing in search of a false crime MORE (D-N.Y.) issues a subpoena for Mueller’s full, unredacted report and underlying evidence.

May 1, 2019: Barr testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee about his handling of the Mueller report, issuing a stark defense of his decisions while triggering fierce blowback from Democrats, who grew louder in their demands for him to resign.

May 2, 2019: Barr does not show up for a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, objecting to Democrats’ plans to allow committee counsels to question him. Democrats hammer the attorney general in his absence, pointing to an empty chair left for him.

The chairman also blasted the attorney general, accusing him of failing to check Trump’s “worst instincts” and misrepresenting Mueller’s findings. Nadler also threatened Barr with a contempt citation if he doesn’t provide access to the full report.

“He has failed the men and women of the department by placing the needs of the president over the fair administration of justice,” Nadler says. “He has even failed to show up today.”