March 29, 2019 / by emptywheel

 

Pressure Works: After Four Days, William Barr Capitulates and Gives an Estimated Page Count!!

Since his obviously limited summary released Sunday night, DOJ has been refusing to provide basic transparency about the Mueller Report or its plans for release. That refusal is best exemplified by DOJ’s unwillingness to reveal how long the Mueller Report is.

Four days later DOJ has just made public a letter to the Judiciary Committees leaders. And while it doesn’t provide an exact page count, it finally offers a ballpark of the page count: “nearly 400 pages long (exclusive of tables and appendices).”

It issues a hilarious denial that Barr’s four page summary — which Barr said “summarize[d] the principal conclusions reached by the Special Counsel and the results of his investigation” [my emphasis] — wasn’t a summary but then uses the word “summary” in describing what it was.

I am aware of some media reports and other public statements mischaracterizing my March 24, 2019 supplemental notification as a “summary” of the Special Counsel’s investigation and report. For example, Chairman Nadler’s March 25 letter refers to my supplemental notification as a “four-page summary of the Special Counsel’s review.” My March 24 letter was not, and did not purport to be, an exhaustive recounting of the Special Counsel’s investigation or report. As my letter made clear, my notification to Congress and the public provided, pending release of the report, a summary of its “principal conclusions” [sic] — that is, its bottom line.

[snip]

I do not believe it would be in the public’s interest for me to attempt to summarize the report or release it in serial fashion.

As the bolded language from his original summary makes clear, Barr is now redefining what he summarized in it.

Finally, the letter describes what he will redact (meaning he has reversed on what the NYT got told about DOJ releasing a “summary”) in a public release by mid-April.

Specifically, we are well along in the process of identifying and redacting the following: (1) material subject to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e) that by law cannot be made public; (2) material the intelligence community identifies as potentially compromising sensitive sources and methods; (3) material that could affect other ongoing matters, including those that the Special Counsel has referred to other Department offices; and (4) information that would unduly infringe on the personal privacy and reputational interests of peripheral third parties.

Of course, this is a letter to Jerry Nadler, who has a solid constitutional claim to be entitled to grand jury information — indeed, to the entire report. So while it may remain a reasonable solution for public release (though, note his silence on the exhibits, which must be released too), it is a absolutely unacceptable response to the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee.

At least it shows he’s beginning to feel embarrassed enough about his original hackish summary that he has issued a somewhat less hackish one.

Update: Here is Nadler’s response. He still wants to know how Barr came to a conclusion about Trump’s guilt so quickly.

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.

As I also informed him, rather than expend valuable time and resources trying to keep certain portions of this report from Congress, he should work with us to request a court order to release any and all grand jury information to the House Judiciary Committee—as has occurred in every similar investigation in the past. There is ample precedent for the Department of Justice sharing all of the information that the Attorney General proposes to redact to the appropriate congressional committees. Again, Congress must see the full report.

I appreciate the Attorney General’s offer to testify before the Committee on May 2. We will take that date under advisement. However, we feel that it is critical for Attorney General Barr to come before Congress immediately to explain the rationale behind his letter, his rapid decision that the evidence developed was insufficient to establish an obstruction of justice offense, and his continued refusal to provide us with the full report.

As I disclosed last July, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post. 

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Originally Posted @ https://www.emptywheel.net/2019/03/29/pressure-works-after-four-days-william-barr-capitulates-and-gives-an-estimated-page-count/