DOJ releases memo William Barr’s used to justify not charging Trump for obstruction

Following a victory in appeals court, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington obtained the secret Department of Justice memo then-Attorney General Bill Barr pointed to in order to undermine the Mueller Report and justify not charging then-President Donald Trump with obstruction.

The memo presents a breathtakingly generous view of the law and facts for Donald Trump. It significantly twists the facts and the law to benefit Donald Trump and does not comport with a serious reading of the law of obstruction of justice or the facts as found by Special Counsel Mueller. Among many other problems, it is premised on the fact that there was no underlying criminal conduct, which is not what Mueller found, and waves its hand at there being no exact precedent to compare it to.

The memo supports the chilling conclusion that any president can interfere with any investigation if they believe it could damage them politically. It is clear why Barr did not want the public to see it.

The Justice Department has released the entire text of a secret 2019 memo that played a crucial role in the decision not to charge or accuse then-President Donald Trump of committing obstruction of justice in the investigation into whether Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

Under order from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the Department of Justice on Wednesday released a 2019 memo used by former Attorney General William Barr to justify his decision not to prosecute then-President Donald Trump for obstruction of justice arising from Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

The department initially released a redacted version of the memo in May 2021, stemming from a Freedom of Information Act suit brought by the watchdog group the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). That version fully redacted more than six out of the memo’s 10 pages.

On Friday, however, a panel of judges in the D.C. Circuit ordered the release of the full memo, affirming a district court decision that had found Barr and other DOJ officials were not candid in their statements about the role the memo played in their decision to not charge Trump.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the nonprofit that sued for the document’s release, argued the public deserved to know the legal rationale for not charging Trump.

Justice Department officials had argued that the document was protected because it involved internal deliberations over a prosecutorial decision. But the appeals judges ruled that both Mueller and Barr had clearly already concluded that a sitting president could not be charged with a crime. The discussion was over how Barr would publicly characterize the obstruction evidence Mueller had assembled, the Justice Department conceded on appeal.

ABC and Washington Post and Politico and CREW