The DOJ wrongly withheld parts of Russia investigation memo, a court rules : NPR

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  jbb  •  one month ago  •  13 comments

By:   NPR. org

The DOJ wrongly withheld parts of Russia investigation memo, a court rules : NPR
The Justice Department improperly withheld parts of an internal memo Attorney General William Barr cited in announcing that President Donald Trump had not obstructed justice, an appeals panel said.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



August 20, 2022 10:40 AM ET

The Associated Press

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Then-Attorney General William Barr appears before a House Appropriations subcommittee on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 9, 2019. A federal appeals court ruled Friday that the Justice Department under Barr improperly withheld portions of an internal memorandum he cited in publicly announcing that then-President Donald Trump had not committed obstruction of justice in the Russia investigation. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

Then-Attorney General William Barr appears before a House Appropriations subcommittee on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 9, 2019. A federal appeals court ruled Friday that the Justice Department under Barr improperly withheld portions of an internal memorandum he cited in publicly announcing that then-President Donald Trump had not committed obstruction of justice in the Russia investigation.

The Justice Department under Attorney General William Barr improperly withheld portions of an internal memo Barr cited in announcing that then-President Donald Trump had not obstructed justice in the Russia investigation, a federal appeals panel said Friday.

The department had argued that the 2019 memo represented private deliberations of its lawyers before any decision was formalized, and was thus exempt from disclosure. A federal judge previously disagreed, ordering the Justice Department to provide it to a government transparency group that had sued for it.

READ: The Justice Department's Summary Of The Mueller Report


At issue in the case is a March 24, 2019, memorandum from the head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel and another senior department official that was prepared for Barr to evaluate whether evidence in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation could support prosecution of the president for obstruction of justice.

Barr has said he looked to that opinion in concluding that Trump did not illegally obstruct the Russia probe, which was an investigation of whether his campaign had colluded with Russia to tip the 2016 election.

A year later, a federal judge sharply rebuked Barr's handling of Mueller's report, saying Barr had made "misleading public statements" to spin the investigation's findings in favor of Trump and had shown a "lack of candor."

Bill Barr won't back a 2024 Trump run but doesn't quite condemn his former boss


Friday's appeals court decision said the internal Justice Department memo noted that "Mueller had declined to accuse President Trump of obstructing justice but also had declined to exonerate him." The internal memo said "the Report's failure to take a definitive position could be read to imply an accusation against President Trump" if released to the public, the court wrote.

The Justice Department turned over other documents to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington as part of the group's lawsuit, but declined to give it the memo. Government lawyers said they were entitled under public records law to withhold the memo because it reflected internal deliberations before any formal decision had been reached on what Mueller's evidence showed.

Sitting presidents are generally protected from criminal charges on grounds it would undermine their ability to perform the office's constitutional duties. The Justice Department, like Mueller, "took as a given that the Constitution would bar the prosecution of a sitting President," the appeals court wrote, which meant the decision that Trump wouldn't be charged had already been made and couldn't be shielded from public release.

Had Justice Department officials made clear to the court that the memo related to Barr's decision on making a public statement about the report, the appellate panel wrote, rulings in the case might have been different.

"Because the Department did not tie the memorandum to deliberations about the relevant decision, the Department failed to justify its reliance on the deliberative-process privilege," wrote the panel of judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Appellate judges also noted that their ruling was "narrow," saying that it should not be interpreted to "call into question any of our precedents permitting agencies to withhold draft documents related to public messaging."

Attorneys for the Justice Department didn't immediately respond to an email message seeking comment. The department can appeal the ruling to the full court.


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JBB
Professor Principal
1  seeder  JBB    one month ago

Trump Was Colluding With Russia and Vlad Putin!

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Principal
1.1  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  JBB @1    one month ago
Trump Was Colluding With Russia and Vlad Putin!

We've come a long way way in the since that 2009 meeting between Sec of State Clinton when she presented Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov with a red "reset button" to symbolize improved ties between the two countries.  Who knew that our State Dept was so inept that instead of  "reset" they mistranslated into the Russian the word for "overcharge".

"I would like to present you with a little gift that represents what President Obama and Vice President Biden and I have been saying and that is: 'We want to reset our relationship and so we will do it together," said Clinton, presenting Lavrov with a palm-sized yellow box with a red button.

Clinton joked to Lavrov: "We worked hard to get the right Russian word. Do you think we got it?"

"You got it wrong," said Lavrov, smiling as the two pushed the reset button together before dinner at a Geneva hotel'.

Such an sweet, innocent and naïve time.  

 
 
 
Sparty On
Professor Principal
1.1.1  Sparty On  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @1.1    one month ago

All Russian roads lead back to the sea hag.    Ever since Putin accused Clinton of election interference in 2011 Russia.    Tweaking the small mans disease towards the sea hag.

Ever since then it’s been Russia, Russia, Russia ......thanks Hillary, thanks Obama.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Guide
1.2  Greg Jones  replied to  JBB @1    one month ago

That's not what the article said. Memo had zero  relevance to the investigation.

"Government lawyers said they were entitled under public records law to withhold the memo because it reflected internal deliberations before any formal decision had been reached on what Mueller's evidence showed.."

 
 
 
Tacos!
Professor Expert
1.3  Tacos!  replied to  JBB @1    one month ago

This ruling doesn’t say that, you know.

 
 
 
Split Personality
Professor Principal
2  Split Personality    one month ago

Context? We don't need any stinking context!

One would think ANY Attorney General, even Jeff Sessions, would know better than to promulgate a sin of 

omission.  Unless...there was a micromanager above Barr?

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Expert
2.1  Sean Treacy  replied to  Split Personality @2    one month ago
Y Attorney General, even Jeff Sessions, would know better than to promulgate a sin of  omission. 

Merrick Garland 's DOJ was the one arguing that the memo should remain privileged. 

But I look forward to the consistent objection from the left every time Merrick Garland withholds information relating to the Trump investigation. Can't have any sins of omission..

 
 
 
Tacos!
Professor Expert
2.2  Tacos!  replied to  Split Personality @2    one month ago
One would think ANY Attorney General, even Jeff Sessions, would know better than to promulgate a sin of omission.

Any time any legal office - public or private - turns over documents, there is a complex and exhaustive process of determining what documents to turn over. And then, even with the ones you release, there is the redaction process. So, omission is pretty much standard procedure.

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Expert
3  Sean Treacy    one month ago

per the Opinion, this is what  the parties were fighting over (Section 2 of a memo):

Section II of the memorandum goes on to explain why, in
the authors’ view, the evidence in the Report would not support
bringing a charge against the President for obstruction of
justice. The contents of that analysis in Section II, the
Department argues to us, should be protected from disclosure
under the deliberative-process privilege. In the Department’s
view, the privilege should cover deliberations about whether
the evidence in the Report would support a criminal charge
“even if the Attorney General engaged in those deliberations”
not “for the purpose of considering whether to charge the
President,” but rather “for the purpose of determining the
content of a possible public statement regarding the report.”
Dep’t Br. 26 (citation omitted)

A memo laying out the reasons why the evidence did not support charging Trump with obstruction.

Earth shattering.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Professor Principal
4  Nerm_L    one month ago

Even when confronted with cold, hard reality, liberals still believe the notion of a deep state is some sort of conspiracy theory.  The seed highlights a conflict between an independent DOJ and independent courts.  Representative government was not involved in any way, shape, or form.  In fact, representative government asserting any authority over independent agencies and independent courts has been portrayed as a threat to democracy.

Who is in charge of our government?  Who is running the circus in Washington D.C.?  Why do elections matter?

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
5  devangelical    one month ago

the unredacted Mueller report is what needs to be released to the public.

 
 
 
Tacos!
Professor Expert
6  Tacos!    one month ago
The internal memo said "the Report's failure to take a definitive position could be read to imply an accusation against President Trump" if released to the public, the court wrote.

In fact, they weren’t wrong. It was taken that way by many people.

Had Justice Department  officials made clear to the court that the memo related to Barr's decision on making a public statement about the report, the appellate panel wrote, rulings in the case might have been different.

This ruling is over a very minor point. It’s concerned with a decision about which reasonable minds could easily disagree, but ultimately has no bearing on well . . . anything.

 
 
 
bbl-1
Professor Quiet
7  bbl-1    one month ago

Barr protected Trump.  That is just what it was.  The question that is never asked is..............WHY?

 
 

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