A redacted version of the report by special counsel Robert Mueller is expected to be released to Congress and to the public by the Justice Department a day before the Easter holiday weekend, a department official said Monday.
But the release of anything less than the full report will not placate congressional Democrats, who want to see all of it.
The report, totaling more than 300 pages, details Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, and the question of whether President Donald Trump‘s campaign colluded with Russian agents in that meddling.
The Justice Department has had Mueller’s full report since the special counsel submitted it on March 22.
Attorney General William Barr, in a four-page summary of the report’s main conclusions, has said that the special counsel found no evidence that Trump’s campaign colluded with Russians.
Barr also has said that based on the report, he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein concluded that the evidence collected by Mueller’s team “is not sufficient to establish that” Trump committed obstruction of justice. Mueller himself “did not draw a conclusion — one way or the other — as to whether the examined conduct [by Trump] constituted obstruction.”
Barr last Wednesday told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee that the report would be released this week.
But he spelled out four categories of redactions he planned to make before releasing the report to Congress and the public.
Those areas include information related to the grand jury used by the special counsel during his probe, and information related to ongoing investigations.
Congressional Democrats, led by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., have argued that they are entitled to view the entire report without redactions and have demanded that Barr provide it to them. The Judiciary Committee two weeks ago voted to authorize a subpoena for the unredacted report. That subpoena has not been issued, as yet.
Democrats have increasingly criticized Barr’s handling of the report — particularly his determination after just two days of having the voluminous document that there was insufficient evidence to conclude that there was not enough evidence to conclude that Trump obstructed justice.
They have also voiced their concerns about Barr’s views in light of an unsolicited memo he sent to the Justice Department last June criticizing the Mueller probe.
Trump has repeatedly railed against Mueller’s investigation, calling it a “witch hunt,” even after claiming that the report totally exonerated him.
But the special counsel specifically said in the report, according to Barr’s summary, that “while the report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
And several members of Mueller’s team, speaking on the condition of anonymity, reportedly have said that the evidence that Trump tried to obstruct the probe is stronger than Barr has publicly suggested.
Trump vented on Twitter about Mueller’s investigation about a half-hour after the made its Justice Department announcement that the report would be released Thursday morning.