Mueller report will be released within a week - U.S. attorney general

Arturo Kim
April 10, 2019

Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein concluded the evidence Mueller presented did not amount to an obstruction charge. He said he had offered Mueller the chance to review his four-page letter, but that Mueller declined.

Barr countered that Rosenstein had always been apprised of the course of Mueller's inquiry, and that he and Rosenstein had met Mueller and his team on March 5 to discuss the wind-down of the investigation.

In fact, some of the evidence against Trump was more damning than Barr's letter indicated, according to the news reports.

Representative Nita Lowey, a Democrat from NY, accused Barr of "cherry-picking" aspects of the Mueller report to be more favorable toward the president during her opening statement on Tuesday morning.

Barr added that Mueller had been offered the opportunity to review a four-page letter summarizing the findings in the almost 400-page report, but that the special counsel declined.

Avlon said that Barr could just say that he would not answer questions about the Mueller report until later this month when it's finally released - and the entire hearing could boil down to "irresistible force, meet immovable object".

"The thinking of the special counsel was not a mystery" to senior Justice Department officials, Barr testified. The attorney general also reminded Serrano that the Special Counsel is different from the Independent Counsel as far as their reporting requirements go. But one GOP Congressman is now asking that Mueller publicly testify about his report.

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Barr said he would elaborate at hearings scheduled by the House and Senate Judiciary committees at the beginning of next month. Barr also said he did not alert the White House in advance about his letter's release or consult anyone in the White House when writing his letter.

Several members of the special counsel's office, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told The New York Times and The Washington Post that they believed Barr did not adequately represent the findings of their two-year investigation.

And in his testimony on Tuesday, Barr expressed skepticism that giving Congress - let alone the public - grand jury information, as covered in the law referred to as "6 (e)", could ever be appropriate. Third is information in the report that could interfere in ongoing prosecutions and hurt prosecutors' ability to prosecute or fairness to the defendants. "And finally, we intend to redact information that implicated the privacy or reputational interest of peripheral players where there is a decision not to charge them".

The public is likely to get a greater look at the factors behind Barr's decision to clear Trump of obstruction of justice - Mueller had not exonerated Trump - and other investigative details when the attorney general releases a redacted version of the report, which he has promised by mid-April. Barr added that his redactions will be broken down into four categories so readers can see why the information was omitted. He later argued that Barr had "unlimited discretion" to redact information outside of 6 (e) information.

In his letter, Barr said Mueller found no evidence "to establish that the President was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference".

Barr's answers did not appear to satisfy Democrats, who repeatedly urged Barr to release the full report and fully explain any redactions that Barr decided to make.

Trump has said he will not use a legal doctrine called executive privilege, which allows a president to withhold information about internal executive branch deliberations from other branches of government, to block portions of the report.

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