The long-awaited report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller should be released “within a week,” according to Attorney General William Barr.
Barr, speaking to the House Appropriations subcommittee Tuesday morning, said that the process to redact sensitive and classified information was going “very well,” and he would be able to release the report according to the schedule he had previously suggested.
“This process is going along very well, and my original timetable of being able to release this by mid-April stands,” Barr said. “I think that from my standpoint, within a week I will be in a position to release the report to the public.”
Barr’s appearance before Congress marks the first time he has spoken publicly to lawmakers after Mueller wrapped up his investigation and the attorney general published a summary of its findings on March 24. Days later, on March 29, Barr sent a letter to Congress identifying the four categories of information that needed to be redacted: Grand Jury information, material that could compromise “sensitive sources and methods” for the intelligence community, information related to ongoing investigations by other departments, and “information that would unduly infringe on the personal privacy and reputational interests of peripheral third parties.”
At the time he wrote that letter, Barr said he expected the report to be released in “mid-April.” It appears Barr’s initial timeline assessment was reasonable.
Further, Barr suggested he would make the redacted report as transparent as possible, with explanations as to why any portion was redacted.
“We will color code the excisions from the report and we will provide explanatory notes describing the basis for each redaction,” the attorney general told Congress. “So, for example, if a redaction is made because of a court order and a pending prosecution, we will state that and we will distinguish between the various categories.”
Barr was asked about details of the report containing the special counsel’s concerns that President Donald Trump engaged in obstruction of justice during the investigation. The attorney general said details of this within the report would probably not be redacted: “As things stand now, I don’t think that they will be redacted. So, they will be identifiable.”
At the start of the hearing, Barr was asked about releasing the report. He had to tell lawmakers that there were laws in place that prevented him from releasing an unredacted version of the 300-plus page report.
“I’m operating under a regulation that was put together during the Clinton Administration and does not provide for the publication of the report,” Barr said. “But I am relying on my own discretion to edit the report to remove classified information for eventual release.”
Barr’s summary of the Mueller investigation revealed the special counsel found “no evidence” to support the claim that Trump and his 2016 campaign colluded with Russia to steal the election from Hillary Clinton. Mueller suggested no additional indictments at the close of the investigation, and the previous indictments were for process violations and unrelated fraud.
Since Barr released his summary, Democrats and their media counterparts have implied it was inaccurate and designed to protect Trump. The Washington Post and New York Times even published reports from anonymous sources claiming “associates” of special counsel “investigators” told them the summary left out damaging information. There has so far been no official comment from the special counsel regarding the summary.