- A redacted version of the special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report in the Russia investigation will be released on Thursday, a Justice Department spokesperson told INSIDER.
- Attorney General William Barr said he will redact, or obscure from the public, information that falls into four categories.
- Mueller has loomed large over the White House since he was first appointed special counsel in 2017.
- The report has ignited turmoil in Washington, as the White House, President Donald Trump’s allies, and Republican and Democratic lawmakers game out how they plan to respond when the report drops.
A redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report in the Russia investigation will be released on Thursday, a Justice Department spokesperson told INSIDER on Monday.
The report’s release is highly anticipated, but also a subject of significant division in Washington between the White House and congressional Democrats.
Mueller and the Russia probe have loomed large over the White House since President Donald Trump took office in early 2017. The special counsel was tasked with investigating Russia’s interference in the election, whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow to tilt the race in his favour, and whether Trump sought to obstruct justice in the investigation.
In a letter Attorney General William Barr sent to Congress on March 24, he laid out his “principal conclusions” of the special counsel’s findings. Barr said Mueller did not find sufficient evidence to bring conspiracy charges against Trump or anyone associated with his campaign for coordinating with Russia.
Mueller’s team declined to make a “traditional prosecutorial judgment” on whether Trump obstructed justice and did not draw a conclusion one way or another, Barr added.
But the attorney general, in consultation with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, decided there was not enough evidence to accuse the president of committing an obstruction crime.
Barr’s decision to come to a conclusion on the obstruction inquiry infuriated congressional Democrats and immediately sparked calls for the Justice Department to release a full, unredacted version of the Mueller report.
But Barr has repeatedly said that he will only release a redacted version because federal law or DOJ policy dictates that he must withhold certain categories of information, like grand-jury testimony, classified information, information that could compromise intelligence sources and methods, and information that could harm the reputation of “peripheral third parties” named in the report.
Trump was initially open to releasing an unredacted version of the report but quickly shifted to blasting anyone who called for it to be publicly released.
Early Monday morning, Trump tweeted, “Mueller, and the A.G. based on Mueller findings (and great intelligence), have already ruled No Collusion, No Obstruction. These were crimes committed by Crooked Hillary, the DNC, Dirty Cops and others! INVESTIGATE THE INVESTIGATORS!”
Meanwhile, several members of Mueller’s team are reportedly dissatisfied with the way their findings were characterised by Barr.
Among other things, some prosecutors feel the attorney general downplayed their conclusions in the obstruction inquiry, which sources told The Washington Post were “alarming” and “significant.”
They also reportedly prepared several of their own summaries of the Mueller report, which would have required minimal redactions, and they were frustrated Barr did not include more of their material in his review.
Prosecutors’ reported decision to break their silence on the investigation is significant. For the past two years, Mueller ran the tightest ship in Washington, DC, as he and his team of prosecutors spearheaded one of the most politically explosive investigations in modern US history.
Indeed, Mueller’s team was so close-lipped that it forced journalists and the public to get creative to discern what they were up to.
“If prosecutors are concerned that their conclusions may be obscured or misrepresented – and if they’re worried enough that they’re talking about it to other people – that’s something everyone needs to take seriously, regardless of whose side you’re on,” one former White House official who was involved in the Mueller probe told INSIDER.
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