Barr defends handling of Mueller's Russia report

Rachel Maddow

The department said Attorney General William Barr must strike confidential information from the almost 400-page document as reports surfaced in the news media that members of Mr Mueller's team were unhappy with the way Barr had characterised its main conclusions.

Investigators are allegedly irritated that Barr ignored the summaries they prepared for public release, which would have let the work speak for itself.

The Justice Department defended its handling of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation report after media reports that Mueller's team wrote summaries that they meant to be made public.

In another letter last week, Barr said he was consulting with Mueller over how much of Mueller's full report can be released, and that he expected a redacted version of the report would be released "by mid-April".

In his letter to lawmakers, attorney general William Barr had said the special counsel Mueller did not establish a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation and he did not reach a conclusion "one way or the other" on the obstruction of justice issue, leading him (Barr) to determine that the evidence was not sufficient to indict the President.

Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein "and I have concluded that the evidence developed.is not sufficient to establish" that the president committed obstruction of justice, he wrote in his letter to Congress.

In a party-line vote, the committee voted 24-17 to approve a resolution authorizing subpoenas for Mueller's report, including accompanying exhibits and other attachments, as well as its underlying evidence.

Despite Barr's decision to work with the special counsel to review the report and determine which areas contain sensitive material that needs redactions, House Democrats are calling for the full report, sans redactions, to be turned over to Congress for review. He has yet to issue a subpoena. "What'd the attorney general tell us that the principal findings of Mr. Mueller's report were?"

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More troubling, however, is the fact that Barr seems to have take liberties not just with his spin, but also with Mueller's intentions. Barr has pledged to release a version of the report at the end of the month, but he argues that significant portions of it need to be redacted. "That's my view. It's a game-changer", Gene Rossi, a former Department of Justice prosecutor, said. A slew of opinion polls show the vast majority of Americans want the full Mueller report released.

There is indeed substantial amounts of foreign intelligence and grand jury information in the report, which simply must be scrubbed from the public report. The White House has also not received a preview copy of the report.

He noted that House Judiciary Committee Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) used to be concerned about privacy rights, as the congressman in a 1998 PBS interview blasted calls for the release of Starr's Whitewater report.

"It may have some additional information which is damaging to Trump that will fuel the investigatory zeal of the Democrats - that's possible", Lazare noted.

Under those regulations, at the conclusion of Mueller's investigation, Barr was required to provide Congress with "with an explanation of each action".

Trump recounted his history of frustration with the paper's reporting.

It is also unclear how extensively Mueller and his team spoke to senior Department of Justice officials about how their findings of the investigation would become public, the Times said.

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