During his recent testimony on Capitol Hill, Attorney General William Barr said he planned to have the Mueller Report made available by “mid-April.” Trump’s pick for AG seems to be a man of his word, as the Justice Department announced today that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s much-anticipated Russia report is set to be released to the public and Congress on Thursday morning.
Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec told Fox News on Monday, the report would be made available — with redactions — Thursday morning to lawmakers and to the public. The news comes despite mounting calls from Democrats to first release the report to Congress without redactions.
Barr had said during his testimony that the Justice Department, with the help of the special counsel’s office, plans to “color code the decisions from the report and provide explanatory notes describing the basis for each redaction.”
Barr maintained the DOJ is working “diligently to make as much information as possible available to Congress.”
As most of us know, last month, Mueller submitted his more than 300-page report to the Justice Department for review by the attorney general and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. In a letter to Congress, Barr relayed some of the primary findings of the report, stating the special counsel found “no evidence of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russians during the 2016 presidential election.”
No Collusion – No Obstruction
Mueller was also tasked with investigating whether the president had obstructed justice in any way, but, ultimately, he did not come to a conclusion on that issue, leaving the decision to the DOJ. Barr and Rosenstein, however, said the evidence was “not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.”
Barr has faced mounting criticisms from Democrats over his short four-page description of findings from the Mueller’s report. Most congressional Democrats demanded Barr turn over the full report, without redactions, to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees for review, prior to releasing it to the public. However, as evidenced by today’s DOJ announcement, Barr has no intention of complying with that request, but will instead turn over the “color-coded” redactions as indicated.
Barr said this was necessary as he had “identified four areas of the report that he believed should be redacted” — including grand jury material, information the intelligence community believes would reveal intelligence sources and methods, any material that could interfere with ongoing prosecutions and information that could implicate the privacy or reputational interests of “peripheral players.”
Meanwhile, in a statement earlier this month responding to media reports, the DOJ defended Barr’s rollout of Mueller’s conclusions.
“Given the extraordinary public interest in the matter, the Attorney General decided to release the report’s bottom-line findings and his conclusions immediately — without attempting to summarize the report — with the understanding that the report itself would be released after the redaction process,” the Justice Department statement said.
The DOJ also noted every page of Mueller’s report was marked to indicate it may contain grand jury material “and therefore could not immediately be released.”
The president has repeatedly blasted the special counsel investigation, and again underscored the findings Monday morning that there was “no collusion” and “no obstruction.”
Of course, Democrats are hoping that the release of the “full report” will tell a different story. Meanwhile, Barr announced last week that he is conducting a Justice Department review of the “conduct” of the original Russia investigation.
“[I’m] trying to get my arms around all of the aspects of the counterintelligence investigation that was conducted in the summer of 2016,” Barr said last week.