William Barr better be ready to explain all redactions in Robert Mueller report
Attorney General William Barr has said that by mid-April he would release the highly anticipated report of Robert Mueller. He should have a good explanation prepared for any redactions made when the report gets released.
Barr’s four-page summary of Mueller’s principal conclusions in the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election has President Trump and his supporters claiming vindication, but it also prompted demands to see the full report.
Now, in a letter to the House and Senate Judiciary committees, Barr said he would release the nearly 400-page report within weeks but that there are four different considerations that would lead to the redaction of certain material.
Those considerations were: 1.) grand jury material, 2.) material that could compromise “sources and methods” of the intelligence community, 3.) material that could affect other ongoing legal matters, and 4.) material that could cause privacy or reputational concerns to “peripheral third parties.”
In assessing whether to withhold such material to Congress and the American people, Barr should define all of these areas in the most narrow terms so as to ensure that lawmakers and the public can see as close to the full report as possible. Any omissions are going to raise questions, and a large number of them are going to feed suspicions.
Barr notes in his letter that he wants to testify before Congress after the release of the report. In such an appearance, Democrats will be no doubt grilling him on the omitted material, and he better be armed with a reasonable explanation.