The Department of Justice (DOJ) won’t deliver the redacted version of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE ‘s report to Congress until after a press conference from Attorney General , a Democratic aide told The Hill.
The aide said lawmakers on Capitol Hill would receive the report at 11 a.m. on Thursday, more than an hour after Barr is expected to begin his press conference.
The decision immediately led to complaints from Democrats and criticism from the media, which said it would allow the administration to spin news favorably for the White House before anyone sees Mueller’s full report.
Barr news conference at 9:30 am, Mueller report released at 11 am: In the annals of pathetic efforts to spin apparently bad news in Washington, this ranks near the top.
– Glenn Kessler (@GlennKesslerWP) April 17, 2019
Barr had already come under criticism from Democrats for delaying the release of Mueller’s full report.
After the report was delivered to his office, he issued a four-page letter two days later that said Mueller had not found evidence of a conspiracy between Moscow and Trump’s campaign and that the special counsel did not make a decision on whether there should be a charge of obstruction of justice against the president.
The president and his allies used Barr’s letter to argue that Trump had been completely exonerated by Mueller, a conclusion Democrats say cannot be made without seeing the full report.
Earlier on Wednesday, Rep. (D-N.Y.) tweeted that Congress had been informed they would be receiving the report well after Barr spoke to reporters.
“I’m deeply troubled by reports that the WH is being briefed on the Mueller report AHEAD of its release,” Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, tweeted. “Now, DOJ is informing us we will not receive the report until around 11/12 tomorrow afternoon – AFTER Barr’s press conference. This is wrong.”
I’m deeply troubled by reports that the WH is being briefed on the Mueller report AHEAD of its release. Now, DOJ is informing us we will not receive the report until around 11/12 tomorrow afternoon – AFTER Barr’s press conference. This is wrong. #ReleaseTheReport https://t.co/bR50HhGJ0i
– (((Rep. Nadler))) (@RepJerryNadler) April 17, 2019
Other Democrats were also quick to criticize the timing.
“Once again, Barr wants to shape the public’s perception of the report,” Intelligence Committee Chairman (D-Calif.) tweeted. “This is on top of reports DOJ secretly briefed the White House. This is not justice. Just PR.”
Just been informed by DOJ that we’ll receive Mueller’s report only after Barr gives a press conference.
Once again, Barr wants to shape the public’s perception of the report.
This is on top of reports DOJ secretly briefed the White House.
This is not justice. Just PR.
– Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) April 17, 2019
The DOJ’s decision not to release the Mueller Report until hours AFTER AG Barr’s press conference is unacceptable and cowardly. We deserve the full report, and transparency demands that we be able to ask informed questions.#ReleaseTheReport https://t.co/l8SesI7DEt
– Congresswoman Madeleine DeanMadeleine DeanDems counter portrait of discord Whitaker takes grilling from House lawmakers MORE (@RepDean) April 17, 2019
AG Barr’s decisions to issue a summary weeks before the Mueller report & now to hold a press conf before we can see it were wrong.
Both serve only to allow the AG to spin the report rather than letting the American people review the findings themselves. #ReleaseTheReport https://t.co/TV6CVCotJ7
– Rep. (@RepTedDeutch) April 17, 2019
The Judiciary Committee chairman appeared to be referencing a New York Times report that the White House and DOJ have repeatedly discussed Mueller’s findings ahead of the report’s release on Thursday.
Nadler has been leading the Democratic push to obtain the full Mueller report, with his committee voting earlier this month to authorize a subpoena for the entire document.
The DOJ on Wednesday announced Barr would give a press conference on the report at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, fueling questions over whether reporters will be able to prepare questions about details concerning Mueller’s conclusions.
In a court filing Wednesday, federal prosecutors stated that the DOJ intended to let some lawmakers and their staff view “a copy of the Special Counsel’s report without certain redactions.”
Barr has said that he will exempt some material, such as grand jury information, from the redacted report.