Washington: US Attorney General William Barr on Tuesday (local time) announced that he will make public special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election “within a week”.
Testifying before a House Appropriations subcommittee on the Justice Department’s fiscal 2020 budget request, Barr underlined that some modifications would be made to the 400-page report to make some portions colour-coded and footnoted so that the public will get to know why the Justice Department decided to make such a move.
“The process is going along very well. My original timetable of being able to release this by mid-April stands. Within a week, I will be in a position to release the report to the public and then I will engage with the chairman of the Judiciary committees on its release to the Congress,” The Hill quoted Barr as saying.
Explaining his move to present a redacted report, Barr informed that authorities would colour code classified information and explanatory notes would be provided for the reason of each redaction.
The Attorney General reiterated his stand to release the report as much as possible within the law, saying that the regulations governing Mueller’s appointment do not include guidelines for publicly releasing a report and that he is working at his own “discretion”, according to The Hill.
Meanwhile, House Democrats expressed their displeasure over Barr releasing a redacted report and are demanding the full release of the document without any modifications.
On March 24, Barr had submitted his principal conclusions from Mueller’s 22-month long investigation into alleged Russia interference in the 2016 elections to the US Congress.
While Mueller stated that Trump and his associates did not conspire with Russians, he has not completely exonerated the US President. The special counsel did not “make a traditional prosecutorial judgment” in his report, according to Barr.
While Trump and top Republican leaders welcomed Barr’s summary of the Mueller report, several Democratic leaders, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have alleged discrepancies and called for transparency.
In the Mueller inquiry, 500 witnesses were interviewed and more than 3,500 subpoenas and warrants were obtained of various types. As many as 13 requests to foreign governments for evidence were also made as part of the massive investigation.
While there are no further indictments, the probe saw charges being filed against 37 defendants, seven guilty pleas and one conviction.
Trump has been a vocal critic of Mueller’s investigation into possible links between the Russian government and his campaign and repeatedly called it a “witch hunt” and “unnecessary”.