X

Judge Orders Trump Obstruction Memo Released

Justice Department has until May 17 to file any motion to stay the order
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 5, 2021 12:01 AM CDT

(Newser) – A federal judge has ordered the release of a legal memorandum the Trump-era Justice Department prepared for then-Attorney General William Barr before he announced his conclusion that then-President Trump had not obstructed justice during the Russia investigation, the AP reports. The Justice Department had refused to give the March 24, 2019, memorandum to a government transparency group that requested it under the Freedom of Information Act, saying the document represented the private advice of lawyers and was produced before any formal decision had been made and was therefore exempt from disclosure under public records law. But US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, in a sharp rebuke of Barr, said the Justice Department had obscured “the true purpose of the memorandum” when it withheld the document.

story continues below

She said the memo from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel contained “strategic, as opposed to legal advice” and that both the writers and the recipients already understood that Trump would not be prosecuted. Though government agencies may withhold from disclosure documents that reflect internal deliberations before a decision is made, that protection does not apply in this case since a conclusion had already been reached, the judge wrote. “In other words, the review of the document reveals that the Attorney General was not then engaged in making a decision about whether the President should be charged with obstruction of justice; the fact that he would not be prosecuted was a given,” Jackson said in an order dated Monday. The judge said the Justice Department has until May 17 to file any motion to stay the order.

(Read more William Barr stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
X