U.S. Attorney General William Barr attends a press conference at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, DC, on Jan.
Michael Reynolds | Swimming pool | Reuters
A federal judge on Monday declined to order the Justice Department to release the second part of a memo on the Mueller report to former Attorney General William Barr, arguing that there was insufficient evidence to convict then-President Donald Trump Prosecute obstruction of justice.
Judge Amy Berman Jackson said in a ruling that she would give the DOJ time to process its appeal against its previous decision that ordered the division’s legal department to release the entire memo.
“While disclosing the contents of Section II may have additional public benefits, the court will not deny the Department the opportunity to challenge its judgment in order to advance that interest at this point,” Jackson wrote in her new ruling, the was published in US District Court in Washington.
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Last month, the DOJ released part of the memo that was written in March 2019 but kept its second section secret.
The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics advocacy group in Washington enforces disclosure of the entire memo.
The Office of Legal Counsel’s memo was written after then Special Counsel Robert Mueller presented his report on an investigation into whether Trump’s campaign had voted with Russians to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, and whether Trump had voted Investigation of Russian interference disabled.
As a rule, the DOJ does not file criminal charges against an incumbent president.
But the OLC’s memo concluded that even without this ban, Mueller had not found enough evidence to warrant a criminal charge against Trump.
Jackson beat Barr last month, saying the former attorney general was “insincere” in his public comment on Mueller’s report.
Jackson also brushed aside the DOJ’s allegation that the memo was used to advise Barr on whether or not Trump should be prosecuted. The judge said the document itself reveals that Barr had already made up his mind on the issue when it was presented to him.
“A review of the document shows that the attorney general was not busy making a decision on whether the president should be charged with obstruction of justice; the fact that he will not be prosecuted was taken for granted,” Jackson wrote.