Appeals court rules DOJ wrongly withheld memo in Russia probe while under Bill Barr’s leadership

A panel of appeals court judges ruled this week that the Department of Justice wrongly withheld some evidence, including a memo related to the Russia investigation, under the leadership of former Attorney General Bill Barr.

The memo, dated March 24, 2019, was written by the head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel and delivered to former AG Barr to review. Barr was charged with the decision of whether former president Donald Trump could be prosecuted based on the findings of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s lengthy investigation into possible Trump ties with the Kremlin.

According to the appeals court ruling, the memo read, in part, “Mueller had declined to accuse President Trump of obstructing justice but also had declined to exonerate him.”

The court wrote, “the Report’s failure to take a definitive position could be read to imply an accusation against President Trump if released to the public.” While other documents from the DOJ were turned over to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics as part of a lawsuit filed by the group, with the March 24 memo heavily redacted. 

“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,” the panel of appeals judges wrote this week.




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Laura is a freelance writer out of Maryland and a mom of three. Her background is in political science and international relations, and she has been doing political writing and editing for 17 years. Laura has also written parenting pieces for the Today Show and is currently working on writing a collection of remarkable true stories about normal people. She writes for FBA because unbiased news is vital to unity, and readers deserve the facts free of opinion.

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