Attorney General William Barr told “CBS This Morning” that the Department of Justice did not agree with special counsel Robert Mueller’s “legal analysis” regarding obstruction, so he and deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein “applied what we thought was the right law” instead.
“We analyzed the law and the facts and a group of us spent a lot of time doing that and determined both as a matter of law, many of the instances would not amount to obstruction,” he told CBS in an interview broadcast Friday. “In other words, we didn’t agree with the legal analysis, a lot of the legal analysis in the report, it did not reflect the views of the department and it was the views of a particular lawyer or lawyers and so we applied what we thought was the right law.”
According to one legal analyst, the comments appear to differ from what Barr said during his press conference before releasing the Mueller report on April 18, as well as during congressional testimony in May. Ryan Goodman, a law professor at NYU and former Defense Department special counsel, pointed out that Barr previously said he accepted Mueller’s “legal framework.”
“Although the deputy attorney general and I disagreed with some of the special counsel’s legal theories and felt that some of the episodes examined did not amount to obstruction as a matter of law, we did not rely solely on that in making our decision. Instead, we accepted the special counsel’s legal framework for purposes of our analysis and evaluated the evidence as presented by the Special Counsel in reaching our conclusion,” Barr said during the April 18 presser.
He used similar language during his congressional testimony, as Goodman pointed out on Twitter.
To see the full contradiction between:
1. What Barr told @CBSNews: "We didn’t agree with…a lot of the legal analysis in the Report…So we applied what we thought was the right law."
2. What Barr told Congress in written testimony on May 1, 2019.
Here's the testimony? pic.twitter.com/tKS5hX1bQX
— Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) May 31, 2019
Watch a clip of Barr’s comments to “CBS This Morning” below:
In an exclusive interview, Attorney General William Barr said Robert Mueller and the Justice Department disagreed over the "legal analysis" in the special counsel's report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. @JanCBS reports. https://t.co/WD5fcCfTip pic.twitter.com/gqtmQmKIRT
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) May 31, 2019