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Judge Accuses AG Barr Of ‘Lack Of Candor,’ Orders Review Of Full Mueller Report

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A federal judge on Thursday accused Attorney General William Barr of displaying a “lack of candor” regarding his public statements about the special counsel’s report on the Russia probe.

In a surprisingly harsh statement, Judge Reggie Walton ordered the Justice Department to allow him to privately review an unredacted copy of the report in order to determine whether previously redacted portions of the document can be released to the public.

Walton asserted in his memo that he does not trust Barr’s comments about the contents of the report, or his interpretations of what the special counsel concluded from its investigation into whether President Trump attempted to obstruct the Russia probe.

Walton asserted that “inconsistencies” between Barr’s public statements and what is laid out in a redacted version of the special counsel’s report “cause the Court to seriously question whether Attorney General Barr made a calculated attempt to influence public discourse about the Mueller Report in favor of President Trump.”

Walton, who was appointed to the bench in 2001 by George W. Bush, made the ruling as part of a lawsuit against the Justice Department filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center and reporter Jason Leopold.

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Walton said that his comments were based on a review of the redacted version of the special counsel’s report and statements that Barr made in an April 18, 2019 press conference, as well as a letter he wrote the previous day.

“And, the Court cannot reconcile certain public representations made by Attorney General Barr with the findings in the Mueller Report,” said Walton.

“These circumstances generally, and Attorney General Barr’s lack of candor specifically, call into question Attorney General Barr’s credibility.”

Walton’s statements echo those of Democrats who have criticized Barr over his handling of the special counsel’s report. Barr’s supporters, which include Republicans, have said that his summary of the report was accurate.

Barr said that Robert Mueller, the special counsel, concluded that there was no evidence of collusion involving Trump or members of his campaign in their dealings with Russians. Barr said that Mueller did not make a determination on whether Trump obstructed justice. Barr said that Mueller did not exonerate Trump on the question, but left it up to the Justice Department to decide whether to pursue an obstruction case.

Barr and then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein decided against pursuing a case against the president.

The report is much more definitive on the question of collusion, which was the catalyst for the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign, which began on July 31, 2016.

Mueller said that investigators were unable to establish that any Trump associates conspired with Russians to influence the 2016 election, and that there was insufficient evidence that anyone affiliated with the campaign worked as an agent of Russia.

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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2 comments

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  2. Thomas K. Pedersen

    Wow! After Schumer’s threats against two Associate Justices of the United States Supreme Court, I did not see this coming. Any moderately objective view of Mr. Barr’s past service as Attorney General of the United States, right up to the present, evinces his dedication to the law and objective analysis of matters, with his actions based on that analysis. I read the entire Mueller Report in detail…re-reading many sections while considering the factual nature as well as the obvious desire of the writers…and only then went back to evaluate the summary that Mr. B arr had issued earlier. I found no conflict. Plus, any plain reading of the guidance as to what should and must be redacted would seem to clearly support Mr. Barr’s actions. It would be morally wrong…and I believe legally wrong…to provide a porous Congressional committee with the details regarding people interviewed who were not, are not, and will not be the subject(s) of criminal investigations regarding the target of the Mueller report. Such revelation(s) would only serve to make those individuals the focus of fraudulent efforts to continue a fishing expedition that already has been proven to be operating where there are no fish but a modicum of dirty boots and unrelated detritus. I welcome his examination, but see his comments as akin to Schumer’s, albeit without the threat of physical harm. Shame on him.

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