Attorney General William Barr said he and the Justice Department will need several weeks before determining how much of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report can be made publicly available.
On Sunday, Barr released his initial summary of the final report which seemed to exonerate President Trump from allegations of collusion and conspiracy with Russian entities to win the 2016 presidential election. The summary of Mueller’s report did say the special counsel “did not draw a conclusion – one way or the other – as to whether the examined conduct constituted obstruction.”
The arguments for obstruction, Mueller said according to Barr’s summary, were not enough to warrant any further investigation by his special counsel. Mueller handed the information over to the Justice Department at-large and said they can continue to investigate should they believe Trump violated the law.
The Washington Examiner reports, “According to Barr’s four-page letter, Mueller’s team found no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia after a 22-month probe, which included roughly 2,800 subpoenas, 500 search warrants, and 500 witness interviews.”
Barr previously told Congress he thought it would serve the public interest to release the final report, but some of the information will need to be redacted or excluded for national security reasons.
As Reuters reports, the attorney general said he would need more time before he was able to read through and determine how much of the report could be made available.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr plans to issue a public version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election within “weeks, not months,” a Justice Department official said on Tuesday.
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He relayed his plans to release a public version of the report in the coming weeks to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham during a phone call this week, the official said.
The official said there is no plan to share an advanced copy of the report with the White House.
Some portions of Mueller’s confidential report contain materials that arose during secret grand jury proceedings. Federal rules generally prohibit the government from releasing that information to the public.
As the Washington Examiner also reports, Democrats in the House of Representatives have only given Barr until April 2 to release the Mueller report. This would give him less than a week to review the full report.
“Your four-page summary of the Special Counsel’s review is not sufficient for Congress, as a coequal branch of government, to perform [its] critical work,” House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and other Democrats wrote in a letter to the attorney general. “The release of the full report and the underlying evidence and documents is urgently needed by our committees to perform their duties under the Constitution.”
The lawmakers argued they “must be permitted to make an independent assessment of the evidence regarding obstruction of justice.”
“The determinations you have reached regarding obstruction and the manner in which you chose to characterize the Special Counsel’s investigation only raise further questions, particularly in light of the Special Counsel’s decision to refrain from making ‘a traditional prosecutorial judgment,’” the lawmakers wrote.
Although the lawmakers said they had no reason to doubt Mueller’s judgment, they said it is critical for Congress to examine all of the “facts and evidence” collected by Mueller for national security purposes and requested the Justice Department share the report no later than April 2.