A federal judge on Thursday ordered the Department of Justice to hand over to him a copy of the unredacted Mueller report and accused Attorney General William Barr of misrepresenting its findings in the days before it was submitted to Congress last year.
Judge Reggie B. Walton, a federal district court judge in Washington, said that he could not reconcile Barr's public comments in April 2019 about the report with the actual findings that former special counsel Robert Mueller outlined.
"The inconsistencies between Attorney General Barr’s statements, made at a time when the public did not have access to the redacted version of the Mueller Report to assess the veracity of his statements, and portions of the redacted version of the Mueller Report that conflict with those statements cause the Court to seriously question whether Attorney General Barr made a calculated attempt to influence public discourse about the Mueller Report in favor of President Trump despite certain findings in the redacted version of the Mueller Report to the contrary," Walton wrote in his decision.
"These circumstances generally, and Attorney General Barr’s lack of candor specifically, call into question Attorney General Barr’s credibility" as well as the DOJ's arguments in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, Walton added.
The judge, who was appointed to the court by former President George W. Bush, said he would review the full report to determine whether the redactions made by the DOJ are subject to a FOIA request.
Walton is presiding over a pair of consolidated FOIA lawsuits brought by Buzzfeed journalist Jason Leopold and the nonprofit Electronic Privacy Information Center.
He ordered the DOJ to hand over the unredacted report by March 30.