Attorney General William Barr says a version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report with fewer redactions will be made available to a small group of lawmakers.
In a letter to Congress on Thursday, Barr says the second version of the report would be given to the “Gang of Eight,” the top-ranking House and Senate lawmakers from both parties who can view sensitive classified information. The chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate judiciary committees will also receive it.
Barr said all redactions would be removed from that version of the report except those relating to grand-jury information.
The attorney general said, “I do not believe that I have discretion to disclose grand-jury information to Congress. Nevertheless, this accommodation will allow you to review the bulk of the redacted material for yourselves.”
Special counsel Robert Mueller says President Donald Trump’s efforts to influence the Russia investigation “were mostly unsuccessful,” but that was because the people surrounding the president “declined to carry out orders to accede to his requests.”
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Mueller’s report details instances by several officials, including former FBI Director James Comey, former White House counsel Don McGahn and former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, ignoring or refusing Trump’s requests for interference.
Trump’s lawyer is defending him after the special counsel’s report said Trump tried to seize control of the Russia investigation.
Rudy Giuliani, speaking to Fox News, said Trump “did not have a guilty motive.” He called the Trump Tower meeting between Donald Trump, Jr. and a Russian lobbyist a “counterintelligence frame-up.”
Mueller’s team was dissatisfied with written responses from President Donald Trump, but decided against issuing a subpoena for an interview.
In Mueller’s report released Thursday, prosecutors call Trump’s answers “inadequate.” They considered issuing a subpoena for Trump, but decided against it after weighing the likelihood of a long legal battle.
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Prosecutors also said they had enough information from other sources to draw “relevant factual conclusions on intent and credibility.”
Mueller’s report includes President Donald Trump’s written responses submitted in the Russia probe.
Trump’s responses are being released by Attorney General William Barr without redactions and comprise 12 pages.
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Trump told Mueller he had no recollection of several key events in Mueller’s probe, including a 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between top aides and a Russian lawyer offering aid to his campaign. Trump also told Mueller he had no recollection that he was told that Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted to aid his campaign or hurt Hillary Clinton’s 2016 effort, or that any foreign leader wanted to help his candidacy.
After nearly two years of waiting, America will get some answers straight from Robert Mueller— and Democrats are not happy about it.
The Justice Department on Thursday will release a “lightly redacted” version of the special counsel’s report on Russian election interference at 11am today. It will open up months, if not years, of fights.
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The Trump team expects the document to exonerate the president from the so-called “witch hunt” that has plagued his administration for two years. Democrats are expected to pour over the document any evidence of wrongdoing by Trump, including evidence that he may have obstructed justice.
Even the planned release of the nearly 400-page report quickly spiraled into a political battle Wednesday over whether Attorney General William Barr is attempting to shield the president who appointed him and announce the report’s findings before it’s public release.
Barr held a 9:30 a.m. news conference to present the report’s findings, before providing copies to Congress and the public. He affirmed that Mueller and his team found zero evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to win the 2016 presidential election.
Additionally, Barr said Trump did not attempt to use his executive privilege to hide any information included in Mueller’s report. He said the White House counsel reviewed a redacted version of the report before Trump decided not to interfere.
The president himself seemed supremely confident early Thursday. During the press conference, Trump tweeted —
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 18, 2019
Barr said “no material has been redacted based on executive privilege.”
Earlier, he said Mueller did not reach a “prosecutorial judgment” and that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein concluded the evidence was not sufficient to establish the president committed an offense.
The Associated Press contributed to this article