Barr calls Mueller's letter 'a bit snitty,' but won't give Senate notes from call

Attorney General William Barr refused Wednesday to turn over his notes on a conversation he had with Robert Mueller during which the special counsel complained about Barr’s summary of his report about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and Donald Trump’s attempts to cover it up.

“No,” Barr responded when asked by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., if he would provide the Senate Judiciary Committee with the notes he took to document the call with Mueller.

“Why not?” Blumenthal responded.

“Why should you have them?” Barr answered.

Barr’s defiance came at the end of a contentious day of testimony during which Democratic members of the committee accused the attorney general of the United States of lying. Republican committee members, meanwhile, sought to shift the focus of the hearing to what they described as corruption in the FBI during the 2016 campaign.

Moments before the tense exchange, Barr derisively described a March 27 letter by Mueller objecting to Barr’s summary of his report. The four pages released by Barr “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office’s work and conclusions,” Mueller wrote. The phone call Blumenthal was asking about was a follow-up to Mueller’s letter.

Attorney General William Barr responds to a question from Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. (Photo: Susan Walsh/AP)

“The letter’s a bit snitty and I think it was probably written by one of his staff people,” Barr said.

“Snitty,” the adjective form of “snit,” means agitated or annoyed.

Throughout his testimony Wednesday, Barr deflected responsibility to Mueller for the decision not to charge Trump with obstruction of justice. Democrats on the committee said Mueller’s interactions with Barr show that the attorney general had provided political cover for the White House. Barr’s notes of his conversation with Mueller, they believe, could shed light on that issue.

If Barr’s appearance before the committee made anything clearer, it was that Mueller would soon be asked for his version of events.

“I’m going to write a letter to Mr. Mueller and I’m going to ask him is there anything you said about that conversation that he disagrees with,” committee chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said before adjourning the hearing.

But on his way out, in response to a question, Graham said he had no plans to call another hearing for Mueller to testify in public.

"I'm not going to do any more. Enough already. It's over."

Democrats, who control the House, may have other plans.


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