Deputy Director Rod J. Rosenstein came to his chief's defense on Thursday and said it was "Bizarre" for anyone to plead that lawyer-general William P. Barr "tries to mislead people" does not immediately know omit the special council report.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, his first since Robert S. Mueller III concluded the study of Russian interference in the 2016 election, Rosenstein tried to curb criticism of Barr's handling of the report and the time it took him to release it.
"He is as forthcoming as he can and saw this notion that he is trying to mislead people, I think is just bizarre." Rosenstein said in the interview.
Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller to lead the investigation of President Trump's firing of FBI director James B. Comey, helped Barr review the final report, which did not find out that anyone on the Trump campaign was cooperating with the Russians. However, Mueller refused to reach a conclusion as to whether the president hindered justice. Barr and Rosenstein then decided that they could not make a criminal case that the president hindered justice.
Barr has faced a four-page criticism that he sent to lawmakers last month and outlined what he said was Mueller's "main conclusions". Barr quoted a few excerpts from Mueller's report to support his claims, but his missions left many unanswered questions.
Barr has told Congress he hopes to release the full Mueller report next week, but officials of the Justice Department first edit sensitive information, including the grand jury case. Democrats are concerned that Barr's team will edit certain finds to protect Trump.
Rosenstein pushed back on these criticisms.
"That would be one thing if you wrote a letter and said," I don't want to give you the report, "Rosestein said." What he said is, "Look, it takes a while to process the report. People really want to know what's in it, I'll give you the top line conclusions. "That was all he was trying to do."
Some of Mueller's teams have told associates, they are frustrated with the lack of information published so far about their work, people familiar with the matter have said, Barr insisted he did not attempt to summarize Mueller's nearly 400-page report with his four-page letter, but rather attempted to give his main achievements to an audience, who would not tolerate pending weeks to learn about the results of the special
Rosenstein told the journal that the public should have a "great confidence" in Barr.
Rosenstein, leaving the job soon, has been in Trumps crossing page ha n designated Mueller to conduct the study. The president privateized him as "Mr. Peepers."