Attorney General William Barr recalled being "surprised" that special counsel Robert Mueller would not be making a decision on whether President Trump obstructed justice.
"We were, frankly, surprised by that they were not going to reach a decision on obstruction. And we asked them a lot about the reasoning behind this and the basis for this," Barr said.
Mueller's decision came up during a March 5 meeting, Barr said.
"Special counsel Mueller stated three times to us in that meeting in response to our questioning that he emphatically was not saying that but for the OLC [Office of Legal Counsel] opinion, he would have found obstruction," Barr said.
Barr then explained Mueller's reasoning for the decision.
"He said that in the future, the facts of the case against a president might be such that a special counsel would recommend abandoning the OLC opinion but this is not such a case," he said.
Barr also said he was confused by why Mueller continued investigating obstruction if he felt he couldn't bring it to a conclusion.
Here's how Mueller explains it:
"Second, while the OLC opinion concludes that a sitting President may not be prosecuted, it recognizes that a criminal investigation during the President's term is permissible. The OLC opinion also recognizes that a President does not have immunity after he leaves office. And if individuals other than the President committed an obstruction offense, they may be prosecuted at this time. Given those considerations, the facts known to us, and the strong public interest in safeguarding the integrity of the criminal justice system, we conducted a thorough factual investigation in order to preserve the evidence when memories were fresh and documentary materials were available."