Attorney General William Barr told Congress Tuesday he expects to release his redacted version of the special counsel's Trump-Russia investigation report "within a week", while Democrats criticized his handling of the long-awaited document and demanded he turn it over in full.
"I don't intend at this stage to send the full unredacted report to the committee", Barr told a House of Representatives Appropriations subcommittee. His first agenda item is to release as much of the report as he can to the public at large.
"Call it what you wish", Barr said, after Democrats accused him of asserting executive privilege in refusing to summarize his conversations. "The second is information that the intelligence community believes would reveal intelligence sources and methods", Barr explained.
Attorney General William Barr has assembled a team to review controversial counterintelligence decisions made by Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation officials, including actions taken during the probe of the Trump campaign in the summer of 2016, according to a person familiar with the matter.
That is a change from Barr's past statement just 11 days ago when he said in a letter sent to the chairmen of the House and Senate Judiciary committees. While Burr said he didn't know exactly what's in the report, he added, "but there are going to be things that maybe cause some people to say, 'Oh, gosh, I didn't know that existed'".
Republican Representative Robert Aderholt of Alabama asked Barr during Tuesday's hearing if the Justice Department is investigating "how it came to be that your agency used a salacious and unverified dossier as a predicate for FISA order on a USA citizen?"
The New York Times and the Washington Post have since reported that some investigators on Mueller's team were unhappy with the way Barr described their findings.
Attorney General William Barr says he had a general sense of the Russian Federation investigation's findings weeks before it concluded. That FBI investigation began in July 2016 and eventually included surveillance warrants targeting Carter Page, a former Trump campaign advisor. He said he had offered Mueller the chance to review his four-page letter, but that Mueller declined.
Barr's own stance before he was chosen by Trump to be attorney general - that Mueller had no legal grounds to investigate Trump for obstruction - has also drawn questions about how he reached his conclusion. "The chairman of the Judiciary Committee is free to go to court", he said in response to Democratic questioning.
Republican appropriators said any provisions forcing Barr's hand would not survive the Senate, particularly when Barr made clear that he is bound by law to withhold some parts of the Mueller report.
Barr's inquiry is separate from a long-running investigation by the Justice Department's inspector general, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing sensitive matters.
Trump seems to be of the same mind.
If Trump did get more than the synopsis, it could have helped the White House with its efforts to spin the entire investigation as a time-wasting "witch hunt" that had nonetheless "exonerated" him, whether or not the report actually supported that interpretation. On Monday morning he tweeted, "The Russian Hoax never happened, it was a fraud on the American people!"
Trump has also criticized Democrats' pursuit of the report, which includes approving a subpoena that could be used in a court battle to obtain it. Barr stressed the report will be redacted citing classified content, ongoing litigation and privacy protection for persons not charged by Mueller's office that may have been interviewed in the process of the investigation.
Barr could mollify some angst when he releases the report, even though some portions will be redacted. When asked, Barr said those details would likely be in the public version of the report.