The Actual Mueller Report Will Be Released by Mid-April
WASHINGTON — In the latest end-of-week news dump on the Mueller beat, Attorney General William Barr told congressional leaders Friday to expect a redacted version of the Mueller report by “mid-April, if not sooner.”
Barr stated that the full report — not to be confused with Barr’s brief, four-page write-up; more on that in a moment — is nearly 400 pages long, excluding tables and appendices. Barr will also redact from the report material “subject to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure,” material the intelligence community deems could compromise sensitive sources, material that could affect ongoing matters and information that would infringe upon the personal privacy of “peripheral third parties.”
News from AG Barr – Mueller report coming mid-April if not sooner; report nearly 400 pages; no plans for WH privilege review pic.twitter.com/LmrG5A1qFZ
— Laura Jarrett (@LauraAJarrett) March 29, 2019
Despite the redactions, Barr said the White House would not be using executive privilege to redact certain portions of the Mueller report. “Although the President would have the right to assert to privilege over certain parts of the report,” Barr wrote, “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.” The special counsel’s office, he said, is assisting the Justice Department with getting the report ready for release and identifying passages that will be redacted.
But perhaps the most eyebrow-raising part of Barr’s new letter to Congress was what came next. Barr went on to accuse media organizations and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) of mischaracterizing his blockbuster March 24th letter to Congress laying out the report’s “principal conclusions.” It was in that letter that Barr directly quoted from a part of Mueller’s report saying that the the special counsel’s investigation “did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” Barr also relayed in that same letter Mueller’s decision not to reach a legal judgment on whether President Trump had obstructed justice despite apparently finding evidence to suggest he did. According to Barr, the Mueller report states that “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
Nadler responded to Barr’s letter on Friday by renewing his call for the entire, underacted Mueller report to be released by April 2nd.
Jerry Nadler responds to the new Barr letter: "As I informed the Attorney General earlier this week, Congress requires the full and complete Mueller report, without redactions, as well as access to the underlying evidence, by April 2. That deadline still stands."
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) March 29, 2019
Jerry Nadler responds to Bill Barr: "It is critical for AG Barr to come before Congress immediately to explain the rationale behind his letter, his rapid decision that the evidence developed was insufficient … and his continued refusal to provide us with the full report."
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) March 29, 2019
Nadler, along with most news outlets, referred to the initial March 24th letter to Congress as a “summary” of Mueller’s full report. Barr, in his new letter, said that’s not true. (What exactly it was, if not a summary, is unclear.) “My March 24 letter was not, and did not purport to be, an exhaustive recounting of the Special Counsel’s investigation or report,” he wrote. “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.”
Semantics aside, here’s what we know: Barr’s March 24th letter — the one Trump seized on as vindication and used to call for investigations of his “treasonous” critics — left out quite a lot. When the Mueller report is finally released in a few weeks, the public and Congress can reasonably expect it to cover far more ground than what we know right now. After all, according to the New York Times, the Mueller report is close in length to the independent counsel Ken Starr’s report on President Bill Clinton (445 pages) and in the ballpark of the final report of the 9/11 Commission (567 pages with notes).
After Mueller’s report is released, Barr said he was prepared to testify before the House and Senate Judiciary Committees in early May.