Justice Department to release redacted version of Mueller report
Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) — Attorney General William Barr is expected to transmit a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s highly anticipated report on Russian meddling during the 2016 presidential campaign to members of Congress, making public for the first time substantial portions of the nearly 400-page document.
The Justice Department’s release of the redacted report comes just weeks after Barr penned a four-page letter conveying the special counsel’s “principal conclusions.”
In that letter, Barr described “two main” Kremlin-backed efforts to influence the election, but states definitively that the special counsel’s office did not find evidence to suggest that members of the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with the Russians.
The special counsel’s office made no conclusion on the matter of possible obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump, Barr noted, but Barr himself determined that the evidence against Trump did not amount to a crime.
Mueller submitted his findings to the Justice Department on March 22, and Barr spent the next two days reviewing the document before releasing his initial letter to Congress.
Since then, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have called for the full release of Mueller’s report.
House Democrats set a deadline for Barr to release the full report by April 2, but the attorney general declined that request, citing the need to redact sensitive grand jury material, information legally blocked from public release, information that could compromise intelligence sources and methods, and any “information that would unduly infringe on the personal privacy and reputational interests of peripheral third parties.”
Though Thursday’s anticipated release of a redacted version of Mueller’s report may answer lawmakers’ demands for more information, it will likely be met with calls for even more.
In a letter from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer sent just hours after Barr’s initial letter, the Democratic leaders wrote that “Congress requires the full report and the underlying documents so that the Committees can proceed with their independent work, including oversight and legislating to address any issues the Mueller report may raise.”
The amount of underlying documents supporting the report is expected to be substantial. In his letter, Barr wrote that “the Special Counsel issued more than 2,800 subpoenas, executed nearly 500 search warrants” and “interviewed approximately 500 witnesses.”
Mueller’s full report covers the scope of an investigation lead by a team of federal prosecutors that lasted 22 months and lead to 37 indictments and seven guilty pleas. Some of the cases related to the special counsel’s probe are ongoing and have since been turned over to prosecutors in U.S. Attorney’s offices.
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