"The letter is a bit snitty"

At the end of the hearing, Barr derided Mueller’s letter complaining about the attorney general’s characterization of his work as “a bit snitty,” and most likely written by a member of Mueller’s staff.

The quip came as Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) pressed Barr for the details of his interactions with Mueller in the days after Mueller completed his work. Barr said after he received Mueller’s written complaint about his work, he called the special counsel and had him on speakerphone with several other people, including Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, in the room as witnesses.

“I said, ‘Bob, what’s with the letter?’ ” Barr said. “ ‘Why don’t you just pick up the phone and call me if there’s an issue?’ ”

Barr said Mueller told him the special counsel team was “concerned about the way the media was playing this, and felt that it was important to get out the summaries, which they felt would put their work in proper context, and avoid some of the confusion that was emerging.” He said he asked Mueller if he felt Barr’s characterization to Congress from a few days earlier was “misleading” or “inaccurate,” and Mueller said it was not.