President Donald Trump’s nominee to be his next attorney general sent an unsolicited memo to the Department of Justice in June to criticize special counsel Bob Mueller’s probe, The Wall Street Journal reported.
William Barr, a former George H. W. Bush attorney general who was tapped by Trump to head the Justice Department once again, wrote to the DOJ that the investigation into possible obstruction by the president was based on a “fatally conceived” theory.
“Mr. Barr’s memo is peppered with strongly worded phrases about the peril he sees in Mr. Mueller’s reading of the law, as he understood it,” The Wall Street Journal reported. “He described Mr. Mueller’s approach as ‘grossly irresponsible’ with ‘potentially disastrous implications’ for the executive branch. He also wrote: ‘Mueller should not be permitted to demand that the President submit to interrogation about alleged obstruction.’”
The DOJ told The Journal that Barr wrote the memo “on his own initiative.”
“It is hard to imagine a more invasive approach encroachment on Executive Authority,” Barr wrote.
Barr’s confirmation proceedings have yet to begin. Matthew Whittaker, a frequent critic of the Mueller probe, is currently serving as Trump’s acting attorney general.
According to a report from CNN, the Department of Justice has determined that Whittaker does not need to recuse himself from the probe.
Barr has publicly criticized Mueller:
Barr earlier this year accused Mueller’s team of “leaking.”
“Leaks by any investigation are deplorable and raise questions as to whether there is an agenda,” Barr told The Hill.
He also suggested that Mueller’s team was biased because some of its members had donated to Democratic candidates.
Barr has called for Clinton investigation:
Last year, Barr told The New York Times that there was more basis to investigate the Clinton-Uranium One deal than possible Trump-Russia collusion.
“To the extent it is not pursuing these matters, the department is abdicating its responsibility,” he said.
“I don’t think all this stuff about throwing [Clinton] in jail or … that she should be prosecuted is appropriate, but I do think that there are things that should be investigated that haven’t been investigated,” he told The Washington Post later that month.