Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued a 35-page ruling on Monday rebuking former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr for the way he handled the conclusion of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into allegations of collusion between the Russian government and the 2016 presidential campaign of President Donald Trump.
Mueller found no evidence of collusion but added an investigation for obstruction of justice.
Barr announced in March 2019 that Mueller had found no conclusion, and that the Department of Justice (DOJ) had found there were insufficient grounds to recommend prosecution of the president — presumably, once out of office — for obstruction because he had “non-corrupt” motives. A year later, Barr would criticize Judge Jackson’s sentence in the Stone case, one of the most prominent prosecutions stemming from the Mueller investigation as unduly harsh (Trump would commute it).
Democrats were upset at the way Barr presented Mueller’s report, as were prosecutors on Mueller’s team, who had hoped to shape public reception of the report toward encouraging an impeachment investigation for obstruction of justice. Democrats also suggested that Barr was hiding evidence against Trump behind redactions. They held Barr in contempt of Congress after he refused to divulge evidence Mueller had presented to a grand jury, because federal law prevented him from doing so.
In her opinion, Judge Jackson, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, repeats many of the Democratic Party’s talking points. (Byron York of the Washington Examiner observed that it reads like a “35-page op-ed.”) The case arose from a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) filing by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a left-wing group. The judge ordered the DOJ to produce “a memorandum to the Attorney General dated March 24, 2019” from staff about the Mueller report by May 17, or file a motion with the court arguing for a stay of the application of the order.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book is How Not to Be a Sh!thole Country: Lessons from South Africa. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.