Secret William Barr memo saying not to charge Trump must be released, judge says
May 4, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.
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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."
The department had argued in court that the largely redacted March 2019 memo was legal reasoning that helped then-Attorney General William Barr make a decision about Trump.
But federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson said she believed Barr and his advisers had already decided they wouldn't charge the President with a crime before he got the written advice, and the memo was partly strategic planning instead of legal reasoning -- and therefore could be made public.
The 9-page memo that Jackson said should be released was finalized by two top political leaders in the Justice Department -- Steven Engel of the Office of Legal Counsel and Ed O'Callaghan, a top adviser in the Deputy Attorney General's Office -- the same day Barr briefed Congress about Mueller's findings on Russian interference in the 2016 election and Trump's attempts to obstruct justice.
Another federal judge previously slammed Barr in another public records case following the Mueller investigation, saying the attorney general had a "lack of candor" that was helpful to Trump politically when the then-attorney general told Congress and announced to the public what Mueller had found, without releasing Mueller's nearly 500-page report.