Politics Judge orders DOJ to release Trump obstruction memo, slams Barr as 'disingenuous'
A federal judge ordered the DOJ to release a memo that Bill Barr used to clear Trump of obstruction of justice
"It is time for the public to see" the memo, Judge Amy Berman Jackson wrote in a searing opinion issued Tuesday.Barr said at the time that he'd come to his decision "in consultation with the Office of Legal Counsel and other Department lawyers" but did not publicize the OLC's memo.
A federal judge has ruled that former Attorney General William Barr was “disingenuous” about the process behind his decision to issue a memo clearing then-President Trump on obstruction of justice charges.
At issue is a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking, among other things, a Justice Department memo that Barr said helped guide his decision to declare that the evidence described inon his investigation into Trump did not support a charge of obstruction, even leaving aside the policy against indicting a sitting president.
Judge orders Justice Dept. to release Trump obstruction memo
WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge has ordered the release of a legal memorandum the Trump-era Justice Department prepared for then-Attorney General William Barr before he announced his conclusion that President Donald Trump had not obstructed justice during the Russia investigation. The Justice Department had refused to give the March 24, 2019, memorandum to a government transparency group that requested it under the Freedom of Information Act, saying the document represented the private advice of lawyers and was produced before any formal decision had been made and was therefore exempt from disclosure under public records law. But U.S.
The DOJ had refused to give the March 24, 2019, memorandum to a government transparency group, saying the document represented the private advice of lawyers — before any formal decision had been made — and was therefore exempt from disclosure.
In a, U.S. District for the District of Columbia Judge Amy Berman Jackson said the memo should be released because it did not fit the exemption for “deliberative” documents under the law.
In so doing, she called Barr’s credibility into question, and criticized the process under which heof the Mueller report that plaintiffs said appeared designed to “create a narrative to counter the special counsel’s findings and cast the President in the most positive light possible.”
Barr memo saying not to charge Trump must be released, judge says
A federal judge this week rejected the Justice Department's attempts to keep secret a departmental opinion to not charge former President Donald Trump with obstruction at the end of the Mueller investigation, calling the administration's lawyers "disingenuous."A federal judge this week rejected the Justice Department's attempts to keep secret a departmental opinion to not charge former President Donald Trump with obstruction at the end of the Mueller investigation, calling the administration's lawyers "disingenuous.
Barr could not immediately be reached for comment.
Jackson, a Democratic appointee who presided over criminal trials of Trump associates Roger Stone and Paul Manafort, described a process under which Barr and other top Justice Deptartment officials quickly decided what conclusions they wanted to reach about the report Mueller, which was given to them before it was released to the public.
Simultaneously, she said, they drafted a legal memo justifying the decision.
The memorandum, she noted, “was being written at the same time and by the same people who were drafting the Attorney General’s letter to Congress setting forth his views on the basis for a prosecution.”
Therefore, she said, “one simply cannot credit the declarant’s statement that the Attorney General made the ‘decision’ he announced based on the advice the memo contains.”
Barr’s four-page memo was the first public glimpse of what the Mueller report said, and it shaped the narrative in the four weeks before the full report was made public.
Jackson appeared to join critics, including Mueller himself, who have said that Barr’s letter was not a fair and accurate summary.
“The Attorney General’s characterization of what he’d hardly had time to skim, much less, study closely, prompted an immediate reaction, as politicians and pundits took to their microphones and Twitter feeds to decry what they feared was an attempt to hide the ball,” Jackson wrote.
The lawsuit was brought by an activist group known as Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Jackson said the DOJ has until May 17 to file a motion
The judge said the Justice Department has until May 17 to file a motion to stay the order to release the memo.
Bill Barr threatened to quit if Trump tried to fire Christopher Wray: Report .
Former Attorney General Bill Barr threatened to quit if then-President Donald Trump fired Christopher Wray, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to a new report. © Provided by Washington Examiner Barr learned of plans to dismiss Wray when Johnny McEntee, a top Trump aide, introduced him to Bill Evanina, a top counterintelligence official in the administration who was reportedly being considered as a potential replacement for Wray, according to Business Insider.