AG Barr admits he overruled Mueller’s legal analysis regarding obstruction of justice as outlined in the report
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. It was the views of a particular lawyer or lawyers and so we applied what we thought was the right law.
This is big. On May 1 Barr testified to Congress: “We accepted the Special Counsel’s legal framework for purposes of our analysis…in reaching our conclusion.” Former federal prosecutor Renato Marrioti said on Twitter that Barr “lied in writing and orally.”
Note that Barr knew of Mueller’s legal reasoning before he submitted the final report. He could have overruled him then. However, this would have triggered a report to Congress as special counsel regulations require alerting Congress of any instance in which the AG alters the Special Counsel’s actions. As former federal prosecutor Joyce Alene explains, that’s why Barr waited until the report was finalized: ” Instead of proceeding in a forthright manner, Barr chose a disingenuous one, first misleading the public then criticizing Mueller after the fact.”
Barr also says that Mueller could have reached a decision about Trump committing obstruction, he just could not have officially charged him with a crime:
I personally felt he could’ve reached a decision… he could’ve reached a conclusion. The opinion says you cannot indict a president while he is in office but he could’ve reached a decision as to whether it was criminal activity
I would bet that Barr did not express this opinion before the report was finalized…
All those times Trump has attacked the FBI? Barr says it’s all good:
I think it’s important that we not, in this period of intense partisan feeling, destroy our institutions. I think one of the ironies today is that people are saying that it’s President Trump that’s shredding our institutions. I really see no evidence of that
Edit: From the New York Times
Mueller seemed to expect that the system would work as it had in the past, with Congress or perhaps voters making the decision about whether Mr. Trump had committed a crime, only to see the president’s handpicked A.G. … make his own determination.