We reported last week that House Democrats had set a deadline for Attorney General William Barr to release the full report to Congress, but Barr seemed to be pushing for a mid-April release with redactions.
William Barr had to face questions from Capitol Hill on Tuesday in regard to if he plans to release the full report to Congress and how he plans to handle the redactions.
There were important takeaways revealed in his answers, but some of what he refused to answer gave even more insight. Here are the four biggest takeaways:
When asked by Georgia Republican Rep. Tom Graves about if it would be a crime if a member of Congress leaked the report after seeing it, Barr replied, “I don’t intend at this stage to send the full unredacted report to the committee.”
He did suggest that he’d be willing to talk to the chairmen of the House Judiciary Committee and Senate if they wanted to see the full report.
Many were surprised that William Barr was able to produce a four-page summary of a 300+ page report so quickly, and Barr shed some light on how that was achieved. He said he had “some inkling as to some of the thinking of the special counsel”, thanks to public reporting.
Barr also said that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein met with the special counsel team on March 5.
When directly asked whether the White House had seen or will see the full Mueller report, Barr was silent on the matter. This is telling, since just 11 days ago, he had said:
“Although the President would have the right to assert privilege over certain parts of the report, he has stated publicly that he intends to defer to me and, accordingly, there are no plans to submit the report to the White House for a privilege review.”
His silence suggests that the White House has now either seen the full report or will see it before it is released.
Barr was asked by Rep. Nita Lowey, about whether Mueller or Trump was right, since they had different opinions about whether Trump was totally exonerated of obstruction or collusion. Mueller had said in a summary letter that, “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him?”
Trump maintains that he was fully exonerated. When Barr was questioned, he refused to answer, and instead insisted that has already said everything he intends to say until the report has been released.