Reason Roundup

Robert Mueller Told William Barr His Memo to Congress on Collusion, Obstruction Lacked Context

Plus: The student censors come for Camille Paglia.


Dissatisfied with media coverage of the results of his investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, Special Counsel Robert Mueller wrote a letter to Attorney General William Barr in late March expressing frustration that Barr's four-page memo to Congress summarizing Mueller's findings "did not fully capture [their] context, nature, and substance."

That's according to The Washington Post, which obtained a copy of the letter on Tuesday. The Post did not publish the letter in full, which means we are relying here on their interpretation of a letter that supposedly complains about Barr's interpretation of Mueller's report. From The Post:

The letter and a subsequent phone call between the two men reveal the degree to which the longtime colleagues and friends disagreed as they handled the legally and politically fraught task of investigating the president. Democrats in Congress are likely to scrutinize Mueller's complaints to Barr as they contemplate the prospect of opening impeachment proceedings and mull how hard to press for Mueller himself to testify publicly.

At the time Mueller's letter was sent to Barr on March 27, Barr had days prior announced that Mueller did not find a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russian officials seeking to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. In his memo to Congress, Barr also said that Mueller had not reached a conclusion about whether Trump had tried to obstruct justice, but that Barr reviewed the evidence and found it insufficient to support such a charge.

Days after Barr's announcement, Mueller wrote the previously undisclosed private letter to the Justice Department, laying out his concerns in stark terms that shocked senior Justice Department officials, according to people familiar with the discussions.

"The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office's work and conclusions," Mueller wrote. "There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation. This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations."

According to The Post, the two men talked on the phone after Barr received the letter, and this conversation was friendlier in nature.

Barr is scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday and the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday. Barr previously testified that he didn't know whether Mueller supported his conclusions.

Update: The Mueller letter is now available here.


"Camille Paglia should be removed from UArts faculty and replaced by a queer person of color," reads a recent student-created petition calling for the firing of the legendary art critic whose views on gender and sex have occasionally offended the modern progressive left. "UArts: you are disrespecting your students and putting them in danger. Do better."

This is hardly the first time Paglia has endured such calls. When her first book, Sexual Personae, was published in 1990, faculty members at Connecticut College compared it to Mein Kampf. At the time, it was intellectually curious students who defended the book.

Now the situation is largely reversed, notes The Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf.


The situation in Venezuela may be reaching a climax: Embattled dictator Nicolas Maduro had plans to flee the country but was convinced by Russian forces to stay, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed on Tuesday. Maduro disputes this. According to NPR:

U.S. officials have been characterizing the situation in Venezuela as nearing its endgame, and opposition leader Juan Guaidó called for the "final phase" of the uprising Tuesday in his attempt to remove Maduro from power. But Venezuela's military handily stamped out pockets of resistance, and despite word from American officials that key Maduro allies are abandoning him, the country's defense minister proclaimed his continuing loyalty. More than 50 countries support Guaidó's claim to power.


  • Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has appeared on video for the first time since 2014. The self-proclaimed caliph acknowledged ISIS's loss of territory in Iraq and Syria but promised "there will be more to come after this battle."
  • Japan has a new emperor.
  • Plymouth State University must pay $350,000 to an adjunct professor it fired for testifying in defense of a woman facing sexual assault charges.
  • Jacob Wohl's brilliant political strategy, in his own words: "make shit up."
  • Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) accused of violating the separation of church and state with "He is Risen" Easter post.
  • The trailer for the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog movie is the stuff of nightmares.