Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report detailing his investigation of President Trump and Russia’s election interference will be delivered to Congress by mid-April, Atty. Gen. William P. Barr said Friday in a letter to lawmakers offering important new details about how the document will be edited before its public release.
“Everyone will soon be able to read it on their own,” Barr wrote.
Barr’s new letter lays out a timeline for the next steps of the hotly debated process by which Justice Department officials are sharing the nearly 400-page report.
In the letter, Bar said he does not plan to submit the report to the White House for review.
“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.
Mueller delivered his conclusions to senior leaders at the department last week. After reviewing the report, the attorney general sent a four-page letter to Congress on Sunday, saying that Mueller “did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”
Barr’s Sunday letter also said the special counsel withheld judgment on whether Trump tried to obstruct justice during the investigation.
“The Special Counsel ... did not draw a conclusion — one way or the other — as to whether the examined conduct constituted obstruction,” Barr wrote in his letter last week describing Mueller’s report. “The Special Counsel states that ‘while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him’.”
Since that Sunday letter, Democrats have demanded to see Mueller’s full report immediately — and they have threatened to issue a subpoena for the document if they don’t get it by Tuesday.
Barr’s new letter seeks to assuage such concerns and get more time to finish his review of Mueller’s work. Barr has said he needs to redact any grand jury information from the document, as well as any information that could adversely affect ongoing investigations.
In the Friday letter, Barr said he would also redact any information that could “potentially compromise sources and methods” of intelligence collection, and any information that would “unduly infringe on the personal privacy and reputational interests of peripheral third parties.”
Mueller’s report marked the end of his 22-month investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and possible coordination with any Trump associates. After Barr issued his summary Sunday, the president called it a “total exoneration.”