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Barr: White House Hasn’t Seen Unredacted Report, Didn’t Suggest Redactions

Attorney General William Barr speaks at a news conference to discuss Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, in Washington, D.C., April 18, 2019. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Attorney General William Barr said Thursday that President Trump and his lawyers offered no input on any of the redactions in the version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report that will be released to Congress.

“Because the White House voluntarily cooperated with the special counsel’s investigation, significant portions of the report contain material over which the President could have asserted privilege. And he would have been well within his rights to do so.”

“The president confirmed that, in the interests of transparency and full disclosure to the American people, he would not assert privilege over the special counsel’s report,” Barr said at a press conference at the Justice Department hours before the redacted report is to be released to Congress. “No material has been redacted based on executive privilege. The president’s personal lawyers were not permitted to make, and did not request, any redactions.”

The president’s personal lawyers were granted a request to read the redacted version of the report earlier this week, which is allowed under the Ethics in Government Act, Barr said, but they have not seen the unredacted version.

Barr submitted a four-page summary of the nearly 400-page report to Congress in March stating that Mueller had found no collusion between the Trump team and the Kremlin, but had left open the question of whether the president had obstructed justice during the investigation.

Democrats have called on the attorney general to testify to Congress over what they believe is his “partisan handling” of the report.

Barr identified four categories of information that will be redacted in the version of the report released to Congress: grand-jury information, classified information, material that would compromise ongoing prosecutions, and material that affects peripheral third parties. A more-complete version, with only grand-jury information redacted, will be made available to a limited group of lawmakers, Barr said.

“Given the limited nature of the redactions, I believe that the publicly released report will allow every American to understand the results of the special counsel’s investigation,” the attorney general said. “Nevertheless, in an effort to accommodate congressional requests, we will make available to a bipartisan group of leaders from several congressional committees a version of the report with all redactions removed except those relating to grand-jury information. Thus, these members of Congress will be able to see all of the redacted material for themselves — with the limited exception of that which, by law, cannot be shared.”

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