Politics

DOJ Says Judge Questioned Barrs Handling of Mueller Report With No Basis

The Department of Justice (DOJ) said that Attorney General William Barr played no role in the redactions made in special counsel Robert Muellers report and that a judge has questioned the departments work with “no basis.”

DOJ spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said March 6 that the redactions in the public Mueller Report were made by DOJ attorneys in consultation with senior members of Muellers team, prosecutors in the U.S. Attorneys Office and members of the Intelligence Community.

The report was then reviewed again by career attorneys, including lawyers with expertise in FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) cases, in response to a FOIA lawsuit by BuzzFeed, its investigative journalist Jason Leopold and Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a privacy non-profit.

Barr played no role in the process, Kupec said.

The DOJ made the statement in response to a judge who ordered Barr to show him the unredacted version of the Mueller Report, which detailed the results of an investigation into allegations of collusion between Russia and the 2016 campaign of President Donald Trump.

On May 17, 2017, Mueller was appointed as special counsel by the then-Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to investigate “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.” He concluded the investigation in March 2019 and submitted the report (pdf) to Barr on March 22, 2019.

Barr told Congress in a March 22, 2019, letter (pdf) that he would inform Congress about the principal conclusions of the Mueller report as soon as the weekend of March 23-24. He sent Congress a letter (pdf) with a summary of Muellers principal conclusions on March 24, 2019.

The redacted Mueller report was released to the public on April 18, 2019. Barr held a press conference about the release and sent a letter (pdf) to Congress early the day before the release.

In a March 5 opinion (pdf), Washington district judge Reggie Walton—an appointee of President George W. Bush presiding over the FOIA case—said there were inconsistencies between the redacted Mueller report and Barrs public statements, including his March 24 summary of Muellers principal conclusions, his remarks during the press conference and his April 18 letter.

Walton also said that Barr may have made the statements in an attempt to “influence public discourse” over the report in favor of President Donald Trump.

“The inconsistencies between Attorney General Barrs statements, made at a time when the public did not have access to the redacted version of the Mueller Report to assess the veracity of his statement, and portions of the redacted version of the Mueller Report that conflict with those statements cause the Court to seriously question whether Attorney General Barr made a calculated attempt to influence public discourse about the Mueller Report in favor of President Trump despite certain findings in the redacted version of the Mueller Report to the contrary,” Walton wrote.

In response, the DOJ said last week Waltons assertions were “contrary to the facts.”

“In the course of deciding that it would review the unredacted report, the court made a series of assertions about public statements the Attorney General made nearly a year ago. The courts assertions were contrary to the facts,” Kupec stated.

Mueller Report vs Barrs March 24 Summary

Regarding the inconsistencies Walton noted between the report and the summary, he gave two examples.

“Barrs summary failed to indicate that Special Counsel Mueller identified multiple Contacts … between Trump [c]ampaign officials and individuals with ties to the Russian government,” he said, noting that Mueller was appointed, among other things, to examine any alleged Trump-Russia “links.”

Having contacts with people tied to Moscow is not in itself illegal. Its been widely reported since 2016 that Trump campaign associates had such contacts.

Walton further said that “Mueller only concluded that the investigation did not establish that these contacts involved or resulted in coordination or a conspiracy with the Trump [c]ampaign and Russia … because coordination … does not have aRead More – Source