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Tue, Nov. 19

House chair still wants Russia report by April 2

The letter that Attorney General William Barr sent to Congress on Friday, March 29, 2019, is photographed in Washington. Barr told Congress to expect a version of special counsel's Russia report by mid-April. (Wayne Partlow/AP)

The letter that Attorney General William Barr sent to Congress on Friday, March 29, 2019, is photographed in Washington. Barr told Congress to expect a version of special counsel's Russia report by mid-April. (Wayne Partlow/AP)

WASHINGTON — House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler says an April 2 deadline still stands after Attorney General William Barr said he would deliver a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia report by mid-April.

House Democrats have suggested they may subpoena the report if it is not delivered by next week. Barr said in a letter to Nadler and other lawmakers Friday that he would send the report to Congress "by mid-April, if not sooner."

Nadler also says Democrats want to see the full report, not a redacted version.

Barr said in his letter that he would be available to talk to the House panel on May 2 and the Senate a day earlier. Nadler says he will take that date "under advisement," but would like Barr to come sooner.

Barr said President Donald Trump would have the right to assert executive privilege over parts of the report. But he noted that Trump "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."

Mueller officially concluded his investigation when he submitted the report last Friday. Two days later, Barr sent a four-page letter to Congress that detailed Mueller's "principal conclusions."

Mueller did not find that the Trump campaign coordinated or conspired with Russia, Barr wrote, and did not reach a conclusion on whether Trump obstructed justice. Barr said he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein decided on their own that Mueller's evidence was insufficient to establish that the president committed obstruction.

Barr said he is preparing to redact multiple categories of information from the report and Mueller is helping the Justice Department identify sections that will be blacked out in the public version.

Those include grand jury material, information that would compromise sensitive sources and methods; information that could affect ongoing investigations, including those referred by Mueller's office to other Justice Department offices and information that could infringe on the personal privacy and reputation of "peripheral third parties."

"Our progress is such that I anticipate we will be in a position to release the report by mid-April, if not sooner," Barr wrote.

Barr said last week's letter detailing Mueller's "principal conclusions" was not intended to be an "exhaustive recounting" of the special counsel's investigation.

Barr described Mueller's report as nearly 400 pages long, not including the tables and supporting materials, which he said sets forth Mueller's analysis, findings and the reasons for his conclusions.

"Everyone will soon be able to read it on their own," Barr wrote. "I do not believe it would be in the public's interest for me to attempt to summarize the full report or to release it in serial or piecemeal fashion."

Asked about Barr's commitment to release a redacted version of Mueller's report, Trump said he has "a lot of confidence" in Barr "and if that's what he'd like to do, I have nothing to hide." He spoke at Mar-a-Lago, his private estate in Florida.

Barr's letter drew a quick — and critical — response from Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, who had demanded the full Mueller report by April 2.

Nadler, D-N.Y., said that deadline still stands and called on Barr to join him in working to get a court order allowing the release of grand jury information to the committee, rather than spending "valuable time and resources" keeping portions of the report from Congress.

"There is ample precedent for the Department of Justice sharing all of the information that the Attorney General proposes to redact to the appropriate congressional committees," Nadler said in a statement. "Again, Congress must see the full report."

The Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, said he appreciated Barr's update and looked forward to the attorney general appearing before his panel on May 1.

Members of Congress will be in recess for two weeks beginning April 12, which could mean that lawmakers will be out of town when the report is delivered.

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