A federal judge overseeing a Freedom of Information case brought by a BuzzFeed News and EPIC has ordered Attorney General William Barr to submit an unredacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
In a court order on Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton said Barr’s description of the contents of Mueller’s’ report before its release required the “independent verification” of the Justice Department’s redactions.
“In the Court’s view, Attorney General Barr’s representation that the Mueller Report would be ‘subject only to those redactions required by law or by compelling law enforcement, national security, or personal privacy interests’ cannot be credited without the Court’s independent verification in light of Attorney General Barr’s conduct and misleading public statements about the findings in the Mueller Report.”
Additionally, Walton called into question Barr’s credibility and accused him of “lack of candor.”
“These circumstances generally, and Attorney General Barr’s lack of candor specifically, call into question Attorney General Barr’s credibility and in turn, the Department’s representation that ‘all of the information redacted from the version of the [Mueller] Report released by [ ] Attorney General [Barr]’ is protected from disclosure by its claimed FOIA exemptions.”
On March 24, 2019, Barr sent a letter summarizing the “principal conclusions” of the report that said Mueller did not find that President Donald Trump colluded with Russian operatives to swing the election as well as stating that Mueller did not find that Trump obstructed justice.
Barr was accused of misrepresenting the report, and Mueller even sent a letter to Barr voicing concern about his characterization of the report.
Justice Department officials said that Barr was summarizing the “principal conclusions” and not the full report in his letter to Congress.
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