White House lawyer to AG Barr: Mueller report 'suffers from an extraordinary legal defect'

PHOTO: Attorney General William Barr testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee May 1, 2019, in Washington.PlayWin Mcnamee/Getty Images
WATCH William Barr to face questions over Mueller report

In a letter obtained by ABC News, White House attorney Emmet Flood wrote to Attorney General Bill Barr in mid-April regarding special counsel Robert Mueller's report into meddling in the 2016 election saying the findings “suffers from an extraordinary legal defect: it quite deliberately fails to comply with the requirements of governing law.”

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Flood goes on to say in the April 19 letter of complaint that the missive was sent to avoid a “precedent” with “both the President and future Presidents in mind.” The letter is dated just one day after Barr released a redacted version of the special counsel's report to the public.

The letter squarely attacks the Mueller team for not making a decision on obstruction of justice, a federal crime in which someone "corruptly" attempts to “influence, obstruct or impede” the “due and proper administration of the law” in a pending proceeding, according to federal code. In his own March 24 letter to Congress describing the “principal conclusions” of Mueller’s report, Barr indicated that, while the special counsel did find at least some evidence suggesting Trump tried to obstruct the investigation, the evidence did not amount to a criminal offense.

PHOTO: Special Counsel Robert Mueller walks past the White House after attending services at St. Johns Episcopal Church, in Washington, March 24, 2019. Cliff Owen/AP, FILE
Special Counsel Robert Mueller walks past the White House after attending services at St. John's Episcopal Church, in Washington, March 24, 2019.

In his letter to Barr, Flood quotes from the Mueller report in writing that the evidence "prevent[ed] [it] from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred."

In his report, Mueller concluded that the president and his campaign did not make illegal contacts with Russia, but "declined to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment" on matters of obstruction of justice. The special counsel writes that though the report's findings don't "conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him."

Flood counters that the use of terms like “exoneration” are “political statements”.

The details of Flood's letter were made public just hours after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday accused Barr of committing a crime by lying to Congress about his handling of Mueller's report and charged that President Donald Trump has obstructed justice by blocking administration officials from testifying on Capitol Hill.

In a March 27 letter to Barr made public just before his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, Mueller complained that the attorney general's initial four-page summary of the probe's findings led to “public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation.”