by Chuck Ross
Attorney General William Barr told Congress Tuesday that the process of reviewing the Mueller report is going along “very well” and that he plans to release the document “within a week.”
In testimony before the House Appropriations Committee, Barr also dealt a blow to a Democratic talking point regarding a letter he sent to Congress on March 24 laying out special counsel Robert Mueller’s conclusions.
Barr told lawmakers that the Justice Department offered Mueller’s team an opportunity to review his letter to Congress but that the special counsel “declined” the offer.
“The letter of the 24th, Mr. Mueller’s team did not play a role in drafting that document, although we offered him the opportunity to review it before we sent it out and he declined that,” Barr said.
In that letter, Barr said that Mueller did not find evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.
“The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities,” Barr’s letter read.
He also said that Mueller was unable to make a case that President Donald Trump obstructed justice, but that the special counsel did not exonerate Trump. Barr said that he and Justice Department officials decided that a case for obstruction could not be made.
Barr told the Senate and House Judiciary Committees on March 29 that he planned to release a version of the Mueller report by the middle of April. He reiterated that timeline on Tuesday.
“This process is going along very well and my original timetable of being able to release this by mid-April stands,” he said. “And so I think that from my standpoint, within a week I will be in a position to release the report to the public.”
Barr also said that he will tell Congress about his rationale for any redactions in the report, which is said to be nearly 400 pages long. He is expected to redact parts of the report that contain grand jury materials and classified information.
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