The New York Times appeared to lend credence Thursday to the fervent belief among some Democrats that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report might actually contain evidence that President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign colluded with the Russian government, printing a story about how critics were “raising questions” about Attorney General William Barr’s ability to summarize a length investigative report in four pages in just 48 hours.
In an article titled, “Mueller Report Exceeds 300 Pages, Raising Questions About Four-Page Summary,” the Times reported that Barr’s summary was both too long and not inclusive enough (original link):
The total of 300-plus pages suggests that Mr. Mueller went well beyond the kind of bare-bones summary required by the Justice Department regulation governing his appointment and detailed his conclusions at length. And it raises questions about what Mr. Barr might have left out of the four dense pages he sent Congress.
In addition, the Times noted the discrepancy between claims about the length of Mueller’s report:
Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, added the description ‘very substantial’ after talking to Mr. Barr on Wednesday, although neither he nor any other member of Congress has seen it and he declined to give a page count. Andrew Napolitano, a legal analyst for Fox News and a favorite of Mr. Trump, caused a stir on Wednesday when he said multiple times on the air that the report was 700 pages.
Despite Democrats’ suspicions (and hopes), Mueller has not disputed Barr’s summary, which quoted the report directly: “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”
In the past, Mueller’s office had occasionally spoken out against incorrect reporting, when that reporting seemed to mis-state fundamental facts about the investigation and its implications for the presidency.
The Times helped lay the foundation of the Russia collusion theory in its early reporting on the Trump administration, running a front-page story on Inauguration Day in 2017 reporting that “wiretapped” conversations revealed potential links between Russian agents and Trump campaign associates.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.