DOJ Must Turn Over Crucial Trump-Era Memo That Judge Finds’Calls Into Question’ Bill Barr’s Statement to Congress About Obstruction,” Mueller Report
US Attorney General William Barr testifies during a US House Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing on the Department of Justice Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, April 10, 2019.
The Department of Justice must produce a memo cited by then-attorney overall Bill Barr because his justification to not billing then-president Donald Trump together with obstruction of justice following the release of their Mueller report, a federal judge ruled Monday.
After special counsel Robert Mueller released his findings in March 2019, Barr purported to”outline the main conclusions” from a letter to congressional leaders who condensed the almost 400-page report into more than three pages, which did not incorporate a single completed sentence by the report.
“[Barr’s] characterization of everything he’d barely had enough time to skim, considerably less, research closely, prompted an immediate reaction, since politicians and pundits took for their own microphones and Twitter feeds to decry that which they feared was an effort to hide the ball,” U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson wrote in a scathing 41-page purchase.
After that initial denial, CREW sued, alleging wrongful withholding of various records not subject to FOIA exemptions. After years of legal wrangling, the team”accepted the bulk of” the DOJ’s efforts to withhold a variety of parts of information, the court notes, except for Document 6 and Document 15. The court ruled the DOJ was correct to withhold Document 6 under a relevant FOIA exception–however that the bureau must provide CREW using Document 15.
As indicated from the parts of this memorandum that were released, it was submitted to the Attorney General to assist him in ascertaining whether the facts put forth in Volume II of Special Counsel Mueller’s report”would encourage initiating or diminishing the prosecution of this President for obstruction of justice under the Principles of Federal Prosecution.” The released portions also show that the memorandum contains the authors’ recommendation in favor of a judgment that”the evidence created by the Special Counsel’s investigation isn’t enough to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.” The parts of this memorandum include legal counsel and prosecutorial deliberations in service of that recommendation.
DOJ argued that Document 15 is”predecisional” and therefore subject to a certain exemption by the national transparency law.
Judge Jackson, however, disagreed”since the materials from the document, including the memorandum itself, reexamine the [DOJ’s] assertions that the decision-making process they’ve identified was actually penalized” and also”the document provides motive to question if the communicating lacked any conclusion that was made.”
CREW contended, on the other hand, that Mueller”had made closing prosecutorial judgments, and the time [Barr] to challenge those conclusions had passed”
“The absence of a pending decision for [Barr] to create inevitably signifies the memo did not make a recommendation or express an opinion about a legitimate legal or policy matter,” among CREW’s court filings said. “Rather, it was a part of a bigger campaign initiated by Attorney General Barr to undermine the Special Counsel’s report and rehabilitate the President.”
The court generally agreed with CREW about Document 15.
Jackson, with no describing the contents of the document itself, explains that among the sections of this memo”offers tactical, rather than legal information, regarding if [Barr] must have a specific course of actions, and it made recommendations with respect to that determination.”
That very first section, the court is essential for understanding the”appropriate context” of this next segment, in which the Justice Department discusses whether Mueller’s evidence”would amount to obstruction of justice”
“Moreover, the redacted portions of Section I show that both the writers and the receiver of this memorandum had a shared understanding concerning whether prosecuting [Trump] was a matter to be thought about in any way,” Jackson continues. “Quite simply, the inspection of this document reveals that the Attorney General wasn’t then engaged in making a determination regarding whether the President ought to be charged with obstruction of justicethe fact that he wouldn’t be prosecuted was a given.”
The judge also noted that the Justice Department’s prior description of this memo”served to obscure the real goal of the memorandum.”
Jackson discovered that her secret”in camera inspection of this document, which DOJ firmly resisted, raises serious questions regarding the way the Department of Justice would create this series of representations to a courtroom.”
Jackson went on to note the”while CREW had never laid eyes to the document, its summary was much more accurate than the one” awarded from the Justice Department to the courtroom.
“What remains at issue today is really a memorandum to the Attorney General dated March 24, 2019, that particularly addresses the issue matter of this correspondence transmitted to Congress,” the sequence notes. “It is time for the public to find that, also.”
The Justice Department has two weeks to reply to the court order.
[Image via Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images]The post DOJ Must Turn Over Secret Trump-Era Memo This Judge Finds’Calls Into Question’ Bill Barr’s Statement to Congress Around Obstruction, Mueller Report initially appeared Law & Crime.