A federal judge questioned Attorney General Barr's public statements regarding the Mueller report, ordering the Justice Department to allow him to conduct a review of an unredacted version of the report in response to FOIA lawsuits by watchdog EPIC and Buzzfeed. File Photo by Pat Benic/UPI | License Photo
March 5 (UPI) -- A federal judge on Thursday ordered the Justice Department to provide him an unredacted copy of the Mueller report, saying Attorney General William Barr misrepresented its finding before it was presented to Congress.
U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton in Washington, D.C., wrote that he would personally review an unredacted version of former special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and potential collusion or obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump's campaign. He said the court could not reconcile public statements made by Barr with the findings in the report.
"The inconsistencies between Attorney General Barr's statements, made at a time when the public did not have access to the redacted version of the Mueller Report to assess the veracity of his statements and portions of the redacted version of the Mueller Report that conflict with those statements cause the court to seriously question whether Attorney General Barr made a calculated attempt to influence public discourse about the Muller report in favor of President Trump despite certain findings in the redacted version of the Mueller report to the contrary," he wrote.
Barr in March 2019 released a summary of the Mueller report stating that the special counsel team did not find significant evidence to establish that Trump obstructed justice nor was it able to exonerate him of such a crime.
He said the special counsel didn't recommended any further indictments and that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein decided the evidence was "not sufficient" to support a prosecution of the president for obstruction of justice.
"In the court's view, Attorney General Barr's representation that the Mueller report would be 'subject only to those redactions required by law or by compelling law enforcement, national security, or personal privacy interests' cannot be credited without the court's independent verification in light of Attorney General Barr''s conduct and misleading public statements about the findings in the Mueller report," Walton wrote.
Walton issued the order in a decision on a pair of Freedom of Information Act lawsuits brought by the Electronic Privacy Information Center Watchdog Group and Buzzfeed against the Justice Department.