Judge who accused Barr of "distorting" Mueller report demands answers after reading unredacted copy

The department must appear in court to “address the court’s questions regarding certain redactions" from the report

By Alex Henderson
Published June 9, 2020 2:32PM (EDT)
Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller testifies before the House Intelligence Committee about his report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election in the Rayburn House Office Building July 24, 2019 in Washington, DC.  (Getty/Chip Somodevilla)
Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller testifies before the House Intelligence Committee about his report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election in the Rayburn House Office Building July 24, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Getty/Chip Somodevilla)

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

The Mueller report hasn't been in the headlines much in 2020, a year that has found reporters heavily focused on the Ukraine scandal, President Donald Trump's acquittal on two articles of impeachment, the coronavirus pandemic, former Vice President Joe Biden's surge in the Democratic presidential primary and — most recently — the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25. But the Mueller report is still a compelling read, and a federal judge is demanding some answers after confirming, on June 8, that he has read an unredacted version of the lengthy document.

U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton, according to Law & Crime's Matt Naham, has ordered the U.S. Department of Justice to answer questions "regarding certain redactions of the Mueller Report" at a hearing now set for July 20. In the past, Walton has been critical of Attorney General William Barr's response to the Mueller Report, asserting that Barr, in 2019, "distorted" the findings of former special counsel Robert Mueller. And now that Walton has read the Mueller Report in unredacted form, he is more concerned than ever about Barr's response to it.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Walton — like so many other Americans — has been working remotely. But the judge, Naham notes, has "made clear that he has some questions that the DOJ cannot answer remotely."

Walton asserted, "Having reviewed the unredacted version of the Mueller Report, the court cannot assess the merits of certain redactions without further representations from the Department (of Justice). However, because the court must discuss the substance of the redactions with the Department, and because such a discussion cannot occur remotely due to the lack of a secure connection between the Court and the Department . . . the status conference currently scheduled for June 18, 2020, is VACATED."

With Walton having "vacated" the June 18 conference, he has ordered the DOJ to appear at the July 20 hearing in order to "address the court's questions regarding certain redactions of the Mueller Report."


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