Congress Waits as Barr Blacks Out Parts of Mueller Report – The New York Times

The special counsel also developed cases that are not yet resolved, including the indictment in Washington of Roger J. Stone Jr., Mr. Trump’s longtime associate and adviser, as well as a dispute over a subpoena with an unidentified foreign-owned corporation.

And there is something of a wild card: The F.B.I. has an open-ended counterintelligence investigation into Russia.

The fourth category Mr. Barr has said he will redact is “information that would unduly infringe on the personal privacy and reputational interests of peripheral third parties.”

The Justice Department traditionally does not make public unflattering information about people whom prosecutors scrutinized but decided not to charge with a crime. By focusing on “peripheral” people, Mr. Barr has indicated that some people are so central to the investigation — presumably including Mr. Trump himself — that he may make an exception and allow more abundant material to go to Congress and become public. But much may depend on his decisions about who counts as central and who counts as a bit player.

There are several types of privilege that could come into play. One is executive privilege, a power of presidents to keep secret from Congress certain internal executive branch information, like communications involving the president or his close advisers and, sometimes, internal agency deliberations. Another is attorney-client privilege, the power to keep secret a client’s discussions with his lawyer.

Mr. Trump permitted his aides and legal advisers who might fall under one or both of those privileges, like the former White House counsel Donald F. McGahn II, to speak to Mr. Mueller’s team. But it is not clear whether that waiver would extend to sharing information with Congress, and there are few court precedents to define the limits of that secrecy power.

Mr. Barr has told Congress, “Although the president would have the right to assert privilege over certain parts of the report, he has stated publicly that he intends to defer to me and, accordingly, there are no plans to submit the report to the White House for a privilege review.” But what he meant is ambiguous, and the Justice Department has declined to provide clarity.


Write a Reply or Comment:

Your email address will not be published.*