Attorney General Barr to release Mueller report within a week

It appears a conflict is imminent between Attorney General William Barr and Democrats in Congress

It appears a conflict is imminent between Attorney General William Barr and Democrats in Congress

William Barr dodged some questions but did promise release of the Mueller report on schedule.

The escalating political battle over Special Counsel Robert Mueller III's report centers on redactions: a lawyerly editing process that has angered distrustful Democrats eager to see the all evidence and conclusions from his 22-month investigation of President Trump's conduct and Russia's elaborate interference operation during the 2016 election.

"Although the President would have the right to assert privilege over certain parts of the report", Barr wrote in that letter, "he has stated publicly that he intends to defer to me and, accordingly, there are no plans to submit the report to the White House for a privilege review". Mr Barr released a four-page letter summarising the report two days later and said he would release a redacted version of the full report by mid-April, "if not sooner".

Barr did say he found it important for Congress to receive as much information as possible to learn about Mueller's investigation. Just look at what White House ally Richard Burr, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told the AP about Mueller's report. Jose Serrano, D-N.Y., said the summary "understates the level of malfeasance by the president", and said he was pleased a full report is coming.

That letter said that Mr Mueller did not find a criminal conspiracy between Russian Federation and Mr Trump's associates, and that Mr Barr did not believe the evidence in the report was sufficient to prove the president had obstructed justice.

Representative Nita M. Lowey, Democrat of NY and chairwoman of the full Appropriations Committee, pressed Mr. Barr to say whether the White House has seen or been briefed on the contents of the Mueller report beyond what was in his letters about it to Congress. Asked about reports that members of Mueller's team were unhappy with his handling of the report, Barr said he suspected any discontent may have reflected their desire to put out more information. "Until someone shows me a provision" permitting the release of grand jury material, Barr said, "Congress doesn't get" that material. "I do not believe it would be in the public's interest for me to attempt to summarize the full report or to release it in serial or piecemeal fashion". He said that he will colour-code the redactions and provide "explanatory notes" so people know why various sections of the report are not being disclosed.

Congress is-as a matter of law-entitled to each of the categories AG Barr proposed to redact from the Special Counsel's report.

He is likely to be asked to further explain himself at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing Wednesday that is also on the budget.

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"I can envision a situation where under appropriate safeguards, that information can be shared", Barr said.

This is his first public appearance since releasing his four page summary of the Mueller report.

Congress WILL NOT be given unredacted copies of Mueller's full report.

"From my standpoint, within a week, I will be in a position to release the report to the public", Barr said.

When Lowey pressed him to say whether Trump had been "factually accurate" about claiming "complete and total exoneration", he similarly declined to engage.

"It's hard to have that discussion without the contents of the report, isn't it?"

This indicates that Barr is looking into allegations that Republican lawmakers have been pursuing for more than a year - that the investigation into President Donald Trump and possible collusion with Russian Federation was tainted at the start by anti-Trump bias in the FBI and Justice Department.

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