According to reports, the Department of Justice has been ordered by a federal judge to release a March 2019 legal memo that advised then-Attorney General William Barr that Robert Mueller’s investigation did not support prosecuting former President Donald Trump, in a decision that accuses Barr and the department lawyers of deceiving the public. At the time, Barr said that he had come to his decision “in consultation with the Office of Legal Counsel and other Department lawyers,” but OLC’s memo was never released. So, the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit to obtain the memo.
The Hill reports that District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson on Monday ordered the DOJ to release the legal memo in two weeks in response to the Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that the watchdog group filed.
Business Insider reports that ‘Jackson said the unreleased OLC memo that Barr used to clear Trump of obstruction actually “contradicts” his claim that the decision to charge the president was “under his purview” because the special counsel Robert Mueller did not “resolve the question of whether the evidence would support a prosecution.”‘
“The letter asserted that the Special Counsel ‘did not draw a conclusion – one way or the other – as to whether the examined conduct constituted obstruction,’ and it went on to announce the Attorney General’s own opinion that ‘the evidence developed during the Special Counsel’s investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense,'” Jackson wrote in her decision.
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“The agency’s redactions and incomplete explanations obfuscate the true purpose of the memorandum, and the excised portions belie the notion that it fell to the Attorney General to make a prosecution decision or that any such decision was on the table at any time,” she added.
The ruling says that the OLC’s memo “calls into question the accuracy of Attorney General Barr’s March 24 representation to Congress,” and it “raises serious questions about how the Department of Justice could make this series of representations to a court.”
“It is time for the public to see that [the memo], too,” the judge said, according to Business Insider.
The Mueller report that we’ve all seen was heavily redacted. And Trump tried to claim that it exonerated him from any misconduct, but it did not, and the public needs to see all of it, not just the memo. The Mueller report actually described numerous instances in which Trump may have obstructed justice. With Merrick Garland as Attorney General now, Barr and Trump are probably shaking in their law and order boots.
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons/Justice Department