(USA Features) The Justice Department has turned over an unredacted copy of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election that was demanded by a federal judge who questioned Attorney General William Barr’s “credibility.”
DoJ attorneys notified the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia of the transfer in a filing Monday, adding that it was in pursuance to a pair of orders this month by U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton.
In a memo issued last month, Walton, who appointed to the federal bench by President George W. Bush, said he didn’t trust Barr’s comments regarding the contents of the report or his interpretations of what the special counsel concluded following its investigation into whether President Donald Trump tried to obstruct the Russia probe.
Walson said the court had “grave concerns about the objectivity of the process that preceded the public release of the redacted version of the Mueller Report” and its “impacts on the Justice Department’s subsequent justifications” that redactions of the report were authorized under the Freedom of Information Act.
Walton said he agreed with the Electronic Privacy Information Center and BuzzFeed, which sued for the report in its entirety under FOIA, that Barr had “dubiously handled the public release of the” report.
The judge claimed there were “inconsistencies” between Barr’s public statements and what is provided in a redacted version of the special counsel’s report. Those alleged inconsistencies “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,” he wrote.
“Consistent with the [DOJ’s] Notice of Submission of Documents for In Camera Review, the Court has received the unredacted version of the report regarding Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 United States presidential election (the ‘Mueller Report’),” Walton said in a minute order Monday afternoon.
“However, in light of the Chief Judge Howell’s March 16, 2020 Order Regard Court Operations in Exigent Circumstances Created by the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Court’s review of the unredacted version of the Mueller Report is unable to occur until the Court resumes its normal operations on April 20, 2020, unless the Court’s normal operations are further suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
It’s not clear when Walton will have an opportunity to review the unredacted version of the Mueller report.