By Sarah N. Lynch
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Attorney General William Barr plans to issue a redacted copy of Special Counsel ‘s nearly 400-page investigative report into Russian interference in the 2016 election by mid-April, he said in a letter to lawmakers on Friday.
“Everyone will soon be able to read it on their own,” Barr wrote in the letter to the top Democrats and Republicans on the Senate and House Judiciary committees.
He said he is willing to appear before both committees to testify about Mueller’s report on May 1 and May 2.
Mueller completed his 22-month investigation probe into whether President Donald Trump‘s campaign colluded with Russia on March 22.
On Sunday, Barr sent a four-page letter to Congress that outlined Mueller’s main findings. Barr told lawmakers that Mueller’s investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired with Russia in its election interference activities.
Mueller left unresolved the question of whether Trump obstructed justice during the investigation. Barr said that based on the evidence presented, he concluded it was not sufficient to charge the president with obstruction.
He said his four-page letter on Sunday “was not, and did not purport to be an exhaustive recounting” of Mueller’s investigation and said he believes the public should be allowed to read it and judge for themselves.
“I do not believe it would be in the public’s interest for me to attempt to summarize the full report or release it in serial or piecemeal fashion,” he wrote.
Lawmakers have since been clamoring for more details, with Democrats calling for a full release of the report and some lawmakers urging a deadline of April 2.
Barr said in his letter on Friday that certain information must be redacted before the report is released, including secret grand jury information, intelligence sources and methods and information that by law cannot be public or might infringe on privacy.
He said Trump has the right to assert executive privilege on some materials but that “Trump has stated publicly that he intends to defer to me.”
Because of that, he said, there are no plans for the Justice Department to submit the report to the White House for a privilege review.
At a rally on Thursday in Michigan, Trump celebrated the end of the investigation and what he called “lies and smears and slander.”
(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Bill Trott)