Maya Wiley and Berit Berger joined Yasmin Vossoughian (who was filling in for Craig Melvin) to discuss the not-at-all shocking news that evidence is coming out that Special Counsel Mueller's report is much worse for Trump than Attorney General Barr's "summary" of it made it seem. Members of Robert Mueller's team are pissed, and they're talking, albeit anonymously.
According to The Washington Post,
The report was prepared “so that the front matter from each section could have been released immediately — or very quickly,” the official said. “It was done in a way that minimum redactions, if any, would have been necessary, and the work would have spoken for itself.”
Mueller’s team assumed the information was going to be made available to the public, the official said, “and so they prepared their summaries to be shared in their own words — and not in the attorney general’s summary of their work, as turned out to be the case.”
Wiley and Berger discussed the likely existence of these summaries at length. It makes perfect sense. Mueller's team has been meticulousness personified regarding every aspect of its work, here. Why wouldn't they have also prepared a version of a summary that could be made available to the public?
Maya Wiley said, "[W]hat we're hearing in the reporting is summaries that would have been able to be released quickly that would have given a fuller, more fulsome picture of the decision." And frankly, the DOJ's responses to the demand for more information, and accusations of egregious politicization of what should be non-partisan have been pathetic and insulting. Especially given what we are now hearing from members of the Mueller team. Barr has had nearly two weeks to ask a judge for permission to release ANY Grand Jury testimony. He hasn't.
BERGER: This is something that a lot of us have been saying this whole time. None of this was a surprise to the special counsel's office team. They knew what the issues were going to be. They had to have been writing this report with an eye to its eventual disclosure. They had to know Congress was going to see this and the American people were going to want to see this. I would be shocked if there was not some kind of executive summary exactly like we're hearing that couldn't be easily released only because they had to have this in mind from the very beginning of their investigation.
VOSSOUGHIAN: Why wouldn't Bill Barr and Rod Rosenstein have come to the conclusion to release these summaries that were prepared specifically for this reason?
WILEY: Look, let's back up to both the fact that William Barr submitted an unsolicited memo to the White House laying out a very expansive view of executive privilege and an extremely, I would say, controversial view of obstruction.
VOSSOUGHIAN: So do you think this was politically motivated by the Attorney General?
WILEY: Let me be a little bit more subtle. (author note: LOL I love Maya Wiley...) Motivated by his very strong belief in HIS version and interpretation of the law that this is a sitting president who should NOT be getting the scrutiny he's getting in terms of Bill Barr's interpretation and understanding of the law and of the power of the White House. And using his position as Attorney General, which I think part of the confirmation hearing process was questioning on how he would use that position given that unsolicited memo. And what he said was, "I will be as transparent as the law allows." And what we're hearing now --
VOSSOUGHIAN: Which he is continuing to say...
WILEY: He is continuing to say, except what we're hearing from the leaking is that If that was true, there's much more we would have seen already in the public view.
What I'm having a very hard time believing, though, is that anyone on the Mueller team is actually surprised about the way Trump and Republicans have used the report to run victory laps about Russia. According to the Post's article,
Some members of Mueller’s team appear caught off guard by how thoroughly the president has used Barr’s letter to claim total victory, as the limited information about their work has been weaponized in the country’s highly polarized political environment, according to people familiar with their responses.
Um...where have these people been? Have they not been immersed in the darkest depths of Trump world for the last two years? In the bowels of Washington, D.C. diving into the sordid details of his delusional and morally bankrupt mindset and activities? The Mueller team was prepared for everything, except THAT?
Wow. Must be nice having a shred of optimism left.