The DOJ has responded to Reggie Walton, the D.C. federal judge who accused AG William Barr of distorting the findings of the Mueller report in order to help Trump.
According to Politico, in a stinging 23-page opinion, U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton said Barr’s efforts to spin the report before its public release last year raised serious doubts about whether the Justice Department faithfully applied the law when deleting certain information from the publicly disclosed version.
“The Court cannot reconcile certain public representations made by Attorney General Barr with the findings in the Mueller Report,” wrote Walton, an appointee of President George W. Bush.
“The inconsistencies between Attorney General Barr’s statements, made at a time when the public did not have access to the redacted version of the Mueller Report to assess the veracity of his statements, and portions of the redacted version of the Mueller Report that conflict with those statements cause the Court to seriously question whether Attorney General Barr made a calculated attempt to influence public discourse about the Mueller Report in favor of President Trump despite certain findings in the redacted version of the Mueller Report to the contrary,” the judge added.
Fox News reports the Justice Department on Friday said that the federal judge who ordered a review of the unredacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report made a series of assertions that “were contrary to the facts” when he expressed doubts about Attorney General William Barr’s objectivity.
“Yesterday afternoon, a district court issued an order on the narrow legal question of whether it should review the unredacted special counsel’s confidential report to confirm the report had been appropriately redacted under the Freedom of Information Act,” DOJ spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said. “In the course of deciding that it would review the unredacted report, the court made a series of assertions about public statements the attorney general made nearly a year ago. The court’s assertions were contrary to the facts.”
U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton ruled Thursday that Barr’s public statements in the days before releasing the report to Congress last year gave him pause.
“The court seriously questions whether Attorney General Barr made a calculated attempt to influence public discourse about the Mueller Report in favor of President Trump despite certain findings in the redacted version of the Mueller Report to the contrary,” he wrote.
Walton, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, is presiding over a lawsuit brought by Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) — a nonprofit in Washington, D.C., focused on privacy and First Amendment issues — in conjunction with BuzzFeed News. Both plaintiffs are pushing for more access to the report.
It has not been released in its entirety to the public.
In April, Mueller submitted the report on his nearly two-year investigation into Russian collusion between President Trump’s campaign and Russia in 2016. Shortly after, Barr released a memo summarizing the findings and clearing Trump of any wrongdoing, saying Mueller did not reach a conclusion on whether Trump obstructed justice.
The report also failed to exonerate him, saying if investigators “had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.” Mueller’s team found “numerous links between the Russian government and the Trump Campaign,” but could not prove collusion.