‘Congress must be permitted to make an independent assessment of the evidence…’
(Del Quentin Wilber and Chris Megerian, Los Angeles Times) Attorney General William P. Barr plans to release a version of the final, confidential report from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III on his Russia investigation in the coming weeks, a senior Justice Department official said Tuesday.
The White House would not get an advance look at the document, said the official, who was not authorized to speak on the record and requested anonymity.
The timetable for reviewing and releasing the report would be relatively quick, the official said: “weeks, not months.”
Barr has been reviewing Mueller’s report to determine whether any information needs to be withheld to protect continuing investigations or grand jury testimony, which is supposed to be kept confidential.
He sent Congress a letter Sunday summarizing what he called the “principal conclusions” from the investigation—that Trump’s campaign did not conspire with the Russian government and that Mueller did not make a conclusion on whether the president obstructed justice.
The special counsel wrote that while his report “does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him” on obstruction, according to Barr’s letter.
It’s unclear whether Barr’s timetable or redaction process will satisfy House Democrats. Six committee chairs sent a letter to Barr on Monday demanding a full copy of Mueller’s report by April 2. They also asked for the underlying evidence gathered by the special counsel so that Congress can make its own determination on the president’s actions.
“Congress must be permitted to make an independent assessment of the evidence regarding obstruction of justice,” they wrote.
Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who supervised the special counsel’s office, have already made their own determination that there was no criminal case to be made on obstruction, a controversial decision that Democrats are eager to probe.
Asked Monday whether the Mueller report should be released, Trump told reporters it was “up to the attorney general, but it wouldn’t bother me at all.”
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