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Trump as Mueller report is released: 'I'm having a good day'

Trump as Mueller report is released: 'I'm having a good day'At a previously scheduled White House event on Thursday, President Trump made his first public remarks on the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.



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Attorney General Barr: Mueller Report Released in the Next Week

Attorney General Barr: Mueller Report Released in the Next WeekIt is a credit to Attorney General Bill Barr that his testimony yesterday morning before a House Appropriations subcommittee seemed, for the most part, like a nonevent.Ostensibly, the subject of the hearing was the Justice Department’s $ 29.2 billion budget request for fiscal year 2020. But because the hearing was the AG’s first appearance on Capitol Hill since his March 24 letter outlining the conclusions of the Mueller report, that topic — specifically, the frenzied anticipation of Barr’s release of a redacted version of the special counsel’s report (said to be 300 to 400 pages in length) — took center stage.Democrats were loaded for bear, but Barr warded off their jabs, explaining the process by which the report is being reviewed and making some news along the way.Here are the major takeaways.The attorney general will release the Mueller report to Congress and the public within the next week. (Note that Congress is scheduled to take its two-week spring break starting Friday).The internal Justice Department review and redaction of the report continues to be a collaboration between the attorney general and the special counsel, and that process has gone smoothly.When the report is released, the redactions will be color-coded so that readers will know the rationale for each excision: grand-jury material, classified information, ongoing investigation, or Justice Department privacy policy (apparently to be invoked on behalf of peripheral figures, not the main players). These categories of redaction were addressed in the attorney general’s March 29 letter.Barr will engage with congressional leaders on the redactions to determine whether there may and should be additional disclosure.Once again, the attorney general explained that his March 24 letter was merely a synopsis of the special counsel’s bottom-line conclusions (along with an explanation of his own conclusion on the obstruction issue, on which Mueller opted not to make a prosecutorial judgment). Barr did not undertake to “summarize” the Mueller report, and assertions that he provided a misleading summary are unfounded. There will not be a summary of the report; there will be the report — excised as described above.Special Counsel Mueller was given an opportunity to review the attorney general’s letter outlining the report’s conclusions but declined to do that. (I suspect that is because the report made those conclusions quite clear — and, on the matter of obstruction, made it clear that the special counsel presented evidence on both sides of the question but did not draw a conclusion. Mueller, who has known Barr for decades, had no reason to doubt that the conclusions would be accurately rendered.)The Justice Department does not intend to seek a court order permitting disclosure of grand-jury material. As I pointed out in a column last Friday, in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the Justice Department took the position that judges have no authority to disclose outside of the exceptions to grand-jury secrecy laid out in Rule 6(e) (Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure). Last Friday, in McKeever v. Barr, the court agreed with the Justice Department. The Rule 6(e) exceptions do not provide for disclosure to Congress. It would thus make no sense to seek a disclosure order.The attorney general added that if House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler (D., N.Y.) wants to argue that there is a legal basis for disclosure outside of Rule 6(e), he will hear the chairman out. (As I’ve pointed out, Congress enacted Rule 6(e) and could enact legislation amending it to permit disclosure of grand-jury material to Congress in special-counsel investigations.)Barr said that Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz’s inquiry into aspects of the Trump-Russia investigation (including alleged FISA abuse) will be released by June, and perhaps as early as May.Importantly, the attorney general also stated that he is looking into the conduct of the Justice Department and the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation, including what triggered the probe’s initiation.Barr said that he had not yet seen the criminal referrals that Representative Devin Nunes (R., Calif.), ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, has said House Republicans would be submitting to the Justice Department this week. These referrals are said to focus on the origination of the Trump-Russia investigation, the use of FISA surveillance, obstructing congressional investigations, and leaking classified information. In his testimony today, the attorney general declined to prejudge the referrals; he indicated that, as a matter of course, the Justice Department will review any congressional referral and, if there is a predicate for an investigation, the matter will be investigated.In the meantime, we await the Mueller report’s imminent release.



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Mueller report will be released within a week: U.S. attorney general

Mueller report will be released within a week: U.S. attorney generalDuring a congressional hearing, Barr was repeatedly challenged by Democrats who raised suspicions that he may have misrepresented Mueller’s report to paint the Republican president in a better light. Barr, an appointee of Trump who last month announced what he said were the main findings of the report, said he would be as open as possible about redactions of sensitive information when he hands over the full document. “Within a week I will be in position to release that report to the public and then I will engage with the chairmen of both judiciary committees about that report, about any further requests that they have,” Barr said at his first appearance before Congress since receiving the report on March 22.



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Florida man arrested for burglarizing cars in jail parking lot moments after being released

Florida man arrested for burglarizing cars in jail parking lot moments after being releasedMichael Lewis had just been released after being arrested on grand theft charges when he allegedly began stealing from cars in the jail parking lot.



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Will Mueller report ever be released?

Will Mueller report ever be released?As a battle wages on between Congress and the Department of Justice over Robert Mueller’s report, investigators for the special counsel appear to be taking a stand. But what will it take in order for politicians – and the public – to see their findings? A new report describes “simmering frustrations” at the special counsel’s office after attorney general William Barr released a four-page summary of its findings, effectively concluding Donald Trump was cleared of any criminal misconduct. Those investigators have told associates Mr Barr’s summary is far from comprehensive and that it undermined the damaging material against the president included in their report, according to the New York Times. It is one of the first reported times the special counsel’s investigators have spoken out about the handling of the investigation in its aftermath.As the House Judiciary Committee threatens to subpoena the full report from the Justice Department, it seems clear at least some factions of the Democratic Party will not be satisfied with a heavily-redacted report that lacks substantive detail about Mr Mueller’s investigation. The Independent spoke with several constitutional law experts to better understand what might come next in this potentially lengthy legal fight. Here’s what they had to say: Does Congress have legal authority to subpoena the full Mueller report? “As part of its oversight authority, Congress certainly has the right to request, and even subpoena, the entire report,” said Steven Schwinn, an associate professor of law at the John Marshall Law School. “That said, Justice has authority to determine that some portions of it should not be turned over, or should be turned over with protections. If Congress and Justice disagree, Congress can sue to enforce a subpoena, and the courts can work it out.”There’s just one problem with that, however: courts don’t typically like to get involved in these sort of disputes between the legislative and executive branches. “Generally courts have expected Congress and the president to solve this the old-fashioned way, and I believe that’s what will happen here,” said Peter Margulies, a law professor at Roger Williams School of Law. “Based on what the courts have previously done, they have generally allowed the inter-branch process to take its course, so I’d be surprised if the courts were inclined to second guess what the executive has provided – as long as there is some good-faith attempts to provide Congress what they want.” So how much of the Mueller report can – or should – be redacted?That question really depends on who you ask. Legally speaking, there are some caveats as to what the public cannot access from the special counsel’s findings. “There are the two obvious restrictions that would certainly be an open invitation for a redactors magic marker: grand jury information which ordinarily is under seal … then there’s information classified due to sources and methods used by the intelligence community, which may reveal how counterintelligence operations are being conducted,” said Ross Baker, a professor of political science at Rutgers University. The White House has also suggested components of the report may be subject to executive privilege, meaning they discuss private details of the presidency’s internal processes and therefore could be withheld from the public – potentially setting up a legal challenge. Say the courts are forced to get involved. What happens then? “The courts can order Justice to turn over the redacted portions, or deny Congress’s request for the redacted portions, or maintain some redactions but order release of others,” Mr Schwinn said. “The way the courts get involved, and how they make decisions about the material, will depend on the reasons why Justice is redacting.”“For example, the courts will judge an assertion of executive privilege differently than they’ll judge an assertion of grand jury secrecy – just because those are two different things,” he added. Still, legal experts say it’s more likely than not that a resolution will be made between the branches. “I’d hope attorney general Barr would be forthcoming in providing the vast bulk of the report … I’m still inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt,” Mr Margulies said. “It wouldn’t surprise me if at least some people aren’t happy, but I hope Bar will release enough so it makes clear what Mueller’s thinking was and answers some questions raised from his summary, particularly the obstruction of justice issue.” How do the House subpoenas play into all of this? Put simply, the subpoenas may be more of a scare tactic in order to get officials to comply with congressional demands. “I would like to know the last person who was sent to jail for being held in contempt of Congress,” Mr Baker quipped. “The president can just invoke executive privilege – a lot of these subpoenas will likely be contested based on executive privilege.”Still, issuing subpoenas sets the legal framework for Congress to uphold its oversight responsibilities under unusual circumstances. “Congress and the administration usually come to some kind of agreement before a court has to rule,” Mr Schwinn said, describing an example in which the Justice Department makes a single copy of the report available in a secure room where lawmakers can read it one at a time without staff. “But if it comes to negotiating something like this, expect the negotiations to be quite tough,” he noted, adding: “Democrats in Congress will want to be able to point to actual and publicly available text to support their public statements about the content of the report. Justice and Republicans, on the other hand, will want just the opposite, so that they can say that Democrats are making it up. Of course, nobody in Congress yet knows what’s precisely in the report. So they’ll be negotiating in the dark. Which I guess just make this all the more interesting!” Is there a chance the Mueller report could be leaked?In spite of Mr Mueller’s team being extraordinarily silent throughout their investigation, it appears more likely now than ever that investigators will speak out if they believe the report’s true findings are not outlined in what the Justice Department eventually provides Congress. “It looks like somebody is leaking some information that cuts against attorney general Barr’s summary of the Muller report, apparently because they think the summary doesn’t do justice to the entire report,” Mr Schwinn said. “I suspect we’d see more leaks like this – and perhaps the entire report – if AG Barr or someone else at Justice is either seriously misrepresenting the report, or redacting it in a disingenuous way.”Mr Baker echoed those comments, saying he could see a leak happening “very easily” if what Mr Barr releases is “a complete over distillation of the findings and in no sense reflects the complexity of the investigation.” “There are a lot of people on Mueller’s team who are extremely agitated by Barr’s mini-rendition of the Mueller report,” he said. “Those would be the people with the strongest motive to release portions of it.”



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Barr: Redacted Mueller report could be released by mid-April

Barr: Redacted Mueller report could be released by mid-AprilWASHINGTON (AP) — A redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller's report on the Russia investigation will be sent to Congress by mid-April and will not be shared with the White House beforehand, Attorney General William Barr said.



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Attorney General Barr says Mueller report to be released 'by mid-April'

Attorney General Barr says Mueller report to be released 'by mid-April'We are preparing the report for release,” Barr wrote.



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Justice Department offers no clue when Mueller's full report could be released; House leaders want it April 2

Justice Department offers no clue when Mueller's full report could be released; House leaders want it April 2Congressional Democrats intensified their demands on Monday to see the full results of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe of Trump, Russia.



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FEMA Released Personal Info of 2.3 Million Hurricane and Wildfire Survivors, Watchdog Says

FEMA Released Personal Info of 2.3 Million Hurricane and Wildfire Survivors, Watchdog SaysPotentially exposing the victims to identity fraud and theft



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Accounts emerge of heroism in New Zealand mosques; bodies to be released

Accounts emerge of heroism in New Zealand mosques; bodies to be releasedAustralian Brenton Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist, was charged with murder on Saturday. Tarrant was remanded without a plea and is due back in court on April 5 where police said he was likely to face more charges. Friday’s attack in the city of Christchurch, which Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern labeled terrorism, was the worst ever peacetime mass killing in New Zealand.



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