Fox & Friends Defends William Barr, Says Robert Mueller's Problem Is With the Media

Fox News' Fox & Friends panel defended Attorney General William Barr on Wednesday morning in the wake of reports that special counsel Robert Mueller had objected to his summary of the Russia-Trump investigation's findings.

"They're misinterpreting it," co-host Ainsley Earhardt said, after fellow co-host Steve Doocy gave a brief overview of reporting on Mueller's criticism published by The New York Times and The Washington Post . "Yeah, exactly," Doocy responded.

Brian Kilmeade read more from the newspapers' reporting and suggested that Mueller "has a horse in this race. He wants to make sure that people pay the price," he said, suggesting that Mueller was biased while Barr was more neutral.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein listens while Attorney General William Barr speaks during a press conference about the release of the Mueller report at the Justice Department on April 18 in Washington, D.C. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

But then Doocy jumped in, going back to arguing that the media was misrepresenting Mueller's objections. "His problem was with the media, the way the media was depicting it." He then pointed to a line in The Post 's article that said: "When Barr pressed Mueller on whether he thought Barr's memo to Congress was inaccurate Mueller said he did not but felt the media coverage of it was misinterpreting the investigation, officials said."

"So he had a problem with the media coverage, not the summary," Earhardt concluded.

On Tuesday evening, The Times reported that Mueller had sent a letter to Barr objecting to the description he released of the special counsel's findings after the probe concluded in March. The two men later reportedly spoke over the phone to discuss the summary and its reception. A Justice Department spokesperson told the newspaper that Mueller "expressed a frustration over the lack of context."

"The special counsel emphasized that nothing in the attorney general's March 24 letter was inaccurate or misleading," Justice Department spokesperson Kerri Kupec said.

Mueller's letter argued that "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," according to The Post . "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," Mueller continued.

Critics of President Donald Trump quickly jumped on the reports of Mueller's letter, as previous reporting had already suggested that members of the special counsel team were unhappy with Barr's characterization of their findings.

"Attorney General Barr should resign," Democratic Representative Adam Schiff from California, who has been a harsh critic of the president and Barr's handling of Mueller's report, wrote on Twitter on Wednesday morning. "He misled the American people with his inaccurate summary of Mueller's report. Then he misled the Congress when he denied knowledge of Mueller's concerns. How can he be trusted to impartially administer justice?" he asked. "Short answer: He can't."

Attorney General Barr should resign.

He misled the American people with his inaccurate summary of Mueller’s report.

Then he misled the Congress when he denied knowledge of Mueller’s concerns.

How can he be trusted to impartially administer justice?

Short answer: He can’t.

— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) May 1, 2019

The special counsel's 22-month investigation did not establish that Trump or his campaign team conspired with Russia during the 2016 presidential election. However, it laid out allegations that the president had potentially obstructed justice by interfering – or attempting to interfere – in the probe. While Mueller did not draw a conclusion on whether or not Trump had obstructed justice, Barr and his Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein decided together that the president had not committed a crime.

Many Democrats and some conservatives have criticized Barr's handling of the Mueller report's release, arguing he acted more like a personal lawyer to the president than an attorney for the American people.

Barr is set to testify to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, and is scheduled to testify to the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday as well. But the Thursday testimony remains uncertain, as Barr has taken issue with the format the Democrat-led committee wants to use for questioning. Representative Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat from New York who chairs the House committee, has threatened to subpoena Barr if he does not come voluntarily.