Fox News legal analyst Andrew NapolitanoAndrew Peter NapolitanoFox News legal analyst says Barr ‘probably misled’ lawmakers in prior testimony on Mueller report Napolitano hits back at Trump: ‘This is the way you treat your friends, how do you treat your enemies?’ Trump: Fox’s Napolitano asked me to pardon his friend, put him on Supreme Court MORE on Thursday denounced Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrTrump predicts Dem investigation will drive him to 2020 win Sanders: Trump ‘determined to engineer a constitutional crisis’ over Mueller report House Intel panel subpoenas Barr for full Mueller report, evidence MORE‘s summary of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE‘s report as a “deceptive” and “foolish attempt to sanitize” the conclusions from Mueller’s investigation.
“It is clear that Barr’s four-page letter, about which Mueller complained to Barr and some of Mueller’s team complained to the media, was a foolish attempt to sanitize the Mueller report,” Napolitano wrote in an op-ed published on FoxNews.com.
“It was misleading, disingenuous and deceptive. Also, because Barr knew that all or nearly all of the Mueller report would soon enter the public domain, it was dumb and insulting.”
The critical comments from Napolitano come as part of an expansive piece exploring the various events that have taken place since Mueller finished his 22-month investigation into Russian interference and whether President TrumpDonald John TrumpMcMaster accuses some in White House of being a ‘danger to the Constitution’ Trump predicts Dem investigation will drive him to 2020 win Trump hits O’Rourke: ‘Boy has he fallen like a rock’ MORE obstructed justice.
Napolitano criticizes Barr for the initial four-page letter he sent to Congress summarizing Mueller’s report. He also condemned the attorney general for clearing Trump in the probe, saying that the Justice Department “is not in the business of exonerating the people it investigates.”
“When the report revealed 127 communications between Russian agents and Trump campaign officials in a 16-month period, and the expectations of those officials of the release of Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham Clinton2020 Democrats show off labor cred at union event Cracks appear in Trump’s coalition Biggest blow to Clinton came from Midwest Obama voters who backed Trump, says progressive strategist MORE‘s hacked emails, that is hardly an exoneration,” he wrote, before arguing that Barr deceived Congress during April testimony when asked whether Mueller’s team had expressed complaints over the initial summary.
Mueller in a letter released last month expressed frustration that Barr’s summary “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this Office’s work and conclusions.”
Barr has faced intense scrutiny from Democratic lawmakers over how he handled the Mueller report and its findings surrounding whether Trump obstructed justice.
The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday voted to hold Barr in contempt for failing to comply with a congressional subpoena to turn over an unredacted version of the report and its underlying documents.
Napolitano argued that Barr “dropped the ball” by failing to respond to Democrats’ subpoena, saying that he could have challenged the subpoena before a federal judge.
“In a bit of bitter irony, the statute that the House Democrats now claim Barr violated is the same obstruction of justice statute that Mueller says the president violated — engaging in deceptive or diversionary behavior for a corrupt purpose in order to impede a government investigation or inquiry,” Napolitano wrote. “This is a gravely serious charge against the attorney general.
Mueller’s report did not uncover evidence to conclude that there was a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia. It also did not recommend an obstruction of justice charge against Trump, but also noted that the report “does not exonerate him.”