Breaking News Emails
Special counsel Robert Mueller's report on his investigation into Russian election interference will be released publicly, with some redactions, by mid-April and possibly sooner, Attorney General William Barr said in a letter Friday.
In a letter to the heads of the Senate and House Judiciary committees, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., Barr wrote that Mueller's office was helping to determine what would be redacted and that the report — which Barr said was nearly 400 pages — would be released to Congress without the White House reviewing it first.
"Our progress is such that I anticipate we will be in a position to release the report by mid-April, if not sooner," Barr wrote.
"Although the president would have the right to assert privilege over certain parts of the report, 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," Barr wrote.
During a question-and-answer session with reporters at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida later Friday, President Donald Trump said he had "great confidence" in the attorney general and did not object to Barr's announcement that he would release the full report without a White House review first.
"If that's what he’d like to do, I have nothing to hide," Trump said. "This was a hoax, this was a witch hunt, I have absolutely nothing to hide."
Nadler, the chair of House Judiciary Committee, responded to Barr's on Friday, reiterating a request for the full report by April 2. "That deadline still stands," Nadler wrote.
"I appreciate the attorney general’s offer to testify before the committee on May 2. We will take that date under advisement," Nadler added. "However, we feel that it is critical for Attorney General Barr to come before Congress immediately to explain the rationale behind his letter, his rapid decision that the evidence developed was insufficient to establish an obstruction of justice offense, and his continued refusal to provide us with the full report.”
The top Republican on the committee, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, however, called Nadler's deadline "arbitrary."
"While I join Chairman Nadler in looking forward to reviewing the classified information in the report at a future date, he stands alone in setting arbitrary deadlines for that release and in calling the attorney general to break the law by releasing the report without redactions," Collins tweeted.
Barr said he wants Congress and the public to have the opportunity to read Mueller’s report, but that some things will need to be redacted, including grand jury material, information that would reveal intelligence sources and methods and disclosures that could affect other investigations currently underway. Those caveats were included in his March 24 letter to Congress.
But Barr went beyond on Friday saying that he will also redact "information that would unduly infringe on the personal privacy and reputational interests of peripheral third parties." Such a restriction would conform to longstanding Justice Department policy that prohibits revealing information about people who were investigated for possible crimes but never charged.
On Sunday, Barr released a four-page letter outlining the conclusions of Mueller's investigation. He wrote that Mueller found no proof that Trump had criminally colluded with Russia — but reached no conclusion about whether the president had obstructed justice.
On obstruction of justice, Barr said that the special counsel declined "to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment," leaving it up to the attorney general to choose whether to bring obstruction charges against the president. Barr declined to do so, he said in the letter to Congress, based on the evidence presented and Department of Justice guidelines around prosecuting a sitting president.
Mueller did not, Barr said, "draw a conclusion — one way or the other — as to whether the examined conduct constituted obstruction."
Barr also wrote that while Mueller's report "does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.'"
In the letter on Friday, Barr wrote that his earlier note was not a "summary" and that it wouldn't have been appropriate for him to summarize Mueller's findings.
"My March 24 letter did not purport to be an exhaustive recounting of the Special Counsel's investigation or report," he wrote.
"Everyone will soon be able to read it on their own. 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 also disclosed the length of the report — "nearly 400 pages long" not including "tables and appendices" — and said it "sets forth the Special Counsel's findings, his analysis and the reasons for his conclusions."
Barr volunteered to testify before the Senate and House Judiciary Committees, suggesting May 1 and May 2 as dates for his testimony.
Graham, the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a statement that he would accept Barr's intention to testify before his committee on May 1.