Mueller report's release likely 'within a week'

Minnie Murray
April 10, 2019

Attorney General William Barr told lawmakers that evidence relating to whether Donald Trump obstructed justice during Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation "will be identifiable" when he releases a redacted version of the report.

"All we have is your four-page summary, which seems to cherry-pick from the report to draw the most favorable conclusion possible for the president", she said.

With or without the threat of impeachment, there is a possibility that Democrats could obtain disclosure if a court, recognizing that the fight over the Mueller materials is an extraordinary circumstance, exercises its authority over grand jury matters to make a disclosure.

Barr reaffirmed to members of the House Appropriations Committee that the first version of the report he plans to release - within one week, he said - would be redacted.

Mueller concluded his investigation in late March and turned over a almost 400-page report to Barr.

"As I've stated before, in order to ensure that our immigration system works properly, we must secure our nation's borders, and we must ensure that our laws allow us to process, hold, and remove those who violate our immigration laws", Barr says.

"Of course, we can not hold this hearing without mentioning the elephant in the room", the subcommittee's chairman, Jose Serrano, said in prepared remarks. "That's something that has been really important to us".

Barr said he suspected that members of Mueller's team wanted more from him, but he explained that he wasn't trying to summarize the full report with his four-page letter, which stated Mueller's investigation did not establish a criminal conspiracy between Trump's team and Russian Federation, and that Mueller reached no conclusion on the question of obstruction of justice. Barr said he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein then concluded that there was insufficient evidence for an obstruction crime. Mueller, however, had not made any recommendation on such a charge.

Barr replied: "As I said in my confirmation hearing".

"The letter of the 24th, Mr. Mueller's team did not play a role in drafting that document", Barr testified, "we offered him the opportunity to review it before we sent it out and he declined that". "I'm not going to say anything more about it until the report is out and everyone has a chance to look at it", he said after citing the information he'd already given.

"From a prosecutor's standpoint", he said, "the bottom line is binary, which is charges or no charges".

The scramble to frame the investigation's findings in the best political light is sure to be renewed in coming days when Mueller's report is expected to be released in redacted form. Despite the Democratic criticism, he said his office is hard at work preparing to release the report (with redactions) "within a week".

Appearing before the House Appropriations Committee for a hearing on the Justice Department's budget, Barr said the redacted report will be released "within a week". He said that he will colour-code the redactions and provide "explanatory notes" so people know why various sections of the report are not being disclosed.

Barr said in the summary released last month that Mueller didn't find a criminal conspiracy between the campaign and the Kremlin.

"That's great news he's looking into how this whole thing started back in 2016", Representative Jim Jordan of OH, the top Republican on the House Oversight and Reform Committee, said Tuesday of Barr's interest in the issue.

"That's what got everyone outraged at what FBI Director Comey did in the case of Hillary Clinton", Barr said. "So they will be identifiable". He added, "My intention is not to ask for it at this stage".

Testifying before the House Appropriations Committee, Barr emphasized that based on regulations put in place during President Bill Clinton's tenure he is required as the Attorney General to review the report and release it based on "public interest" in the findings.

Mueller concluded his investigation in late March and submitted a almost 400-page confidential report.

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