Judge orders release of secret DOJ memo used to clear Trump of obstruction

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Ivana Saric
·1 min read
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A federal judge on Tuesday called for the release of a secret 2019 Department of Justice memo that then-Attorney General Bill Barr cited to justify clearing former President Donald Trump for obstruction of justice, Politico reports.

Why it matters: Judge Amy Berman Jackson called Barr's public characterization of the Mueller investigation's finding “disingenuous” and said the department had not been clear about what purpose the memo would serve.

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The big picture: The DOJ had previously argued that the memo should be kept from public view due to attorney-client privilege and the fact that the memo was used by Barr to help make a decision on whether to prosecute Trump, per Politico.

  • Now the judge has called for the full memo to be released in response to a Freedom of Information Act suit filed by the organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

What they're saying: "[N]ot only was the Attorney General being disingenuous then, but DOJ has been disingenuous to this Court with respect to the existence of a decision-making process that should be shielded by the deliberative process privilege," reads Jackson's opinion.

  • "The agency’s redactions and incomplete explanations obfuscate the true purpose of the memorandum, and the excised portions belie the notion that it fell to the Attorney General to make a prosecution decision or that any such decision was on the table at any time."

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