William Barr to hold Thursday morning news conference on Mueller report release

Attorney General William Barr leaves his home in McLean, Va., on Wednesday morning, April 17, 2019.
Atty. Gen. William Barr leaves his home in McLean, Va., on Wednesday morning. The Justice Department is preparing to release a redacted version of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report on his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
(Sait Serkan Gurbuz / Associated Press)

Atty. Gen. William Barr plans to hold a news conference at 9:30 a.m. Eastern time Thursday as the Justice Department prepares to release a redacted version of the report on the Russia investigation by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, according to a spokeswoman.

Deputy Atty. Gen. Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller and supervised his work, is also scheduled to participate.

The report has gone through a redaction process to remove sensitive information, such as grand jury evidence and classified intelligence, since it was filed on March 22.

The Justice Department plans to send copies to Capitol Hill between 11 a.m. and noon Eastern time, more than an hour after Barr speaks to the media, a plan that sparked criticism from House Democrats.


“The attorney general appears to be waging a media campaign on behalf of President Trump,” Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the New York Democrat who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, said at a news conference Wednesday evening.

“Rather than letting the facts of the report speak for themselves, the attorney general is taking unprecedented steps to spin Mueller’s nearly two-year investigation,” he said.

Trump said during a radio interview that he may hold a news conference himself Thursday, and his legal team is planning to release its own counter-report.

“You’ll see a lot of very strong things come out tomorrow,” he said.


Trump praised Barr as a “fantastic attorney general” who “has grabbed it by the horn.”

Mueller’s report is nearly 400 pages long, Justice Department officials have said. It is the product of an investigation that began in mid-2016, when Moscow was in the midst of a covert operation to try to sway the U.S. presidential election by hacking emails and spreading disinformation on social media.

When Trump fired James B. Comey as FBI director in May 2017, Rosenstein chose Mueller as special counsel to lead the probe. The investigation also expanded to examine whether Trump had obstructed justice.

Barr released a four-page letter on March 24 summarizing what he called the “principal conclusions” from Mueller’s work. He said the investigation did not establish a criminal conspiracy between Trump’s campaign and the Russian government.

Barr also wrote that Mueller did not reach a conclusion on whether Trump obstructed justice. Barr and Rosenstein decided that in their view, the evidence did not show Trump committed a crime.

House Democrats have pledged to fight for the full, uncensored version of Mueller’s report. They’ve approved a subpoena that could be sent to the Justice Department, a step that would likely spark a lengthy court fight.