William Barr's strong reservation on the public release of the Mueller report

President Trump's Attorney General, William P. Barr, made two things clear Tuesday: he would have the Russia report "consistent with the law." publicly, and he is really good friends with Robert S. Mueller III, a special counsel.

"It is very important that the public and the Congress are informed of the results of the work of the special counselor," Barr said in his opening statement to the Senate Judicial Committee. "My goal will be to provide as much transparency as possible in accordance with the law."

"In accordance with the law" is of course no simple "yes". And it is a noteworthy warning that the White House is preparing to claim the executive's right to block parts of the Mueller report, of which parts of Barr previously represented could be "fatally misconstrued."

Barr was asked four times in the first three hours of Tuesday's confirmation to hear if he would share the findings of the investigation with Congress.

"In accordance with regulations and the law, yes," Barr told Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.).

"I'm going to make as much information available as I can in accordance with the rules and regulations that are part of the special advisory requirements," Barr told Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).

"I am as transparent as it is for the rules and the law," Barr told Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.).

"That is certainly my goal and purpose," Barr told Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).

Apparently aware of Democratic concerns about his previous remarks about the probe, Barr made sure to indirectly emphasize his friendship with the special counsel by referring to him by his first name.

"I will follow the special advisory rules scrupulously and in good faith," Barr said Tuesday. "And if I wait, Bob can finish his work."