William Barr confirmation hearing

Hannah Gaber-USA TODAY

AG Barr To Address Mueller Report At Thursday Morning News Conference

April 18, 2019 - 6:45 am
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WASHINGTON (WCBS 880/AP) — The Justice Department says Attorney General William Barr will hold a news conference Thursday morning on special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

The news conference will be held at 9:30 a.m. at the Justice Department in Washington. Barr will be joined by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

WCBS 880 will carry the press conference live.

The press conference will come on the same morning that the Justice Department has said they will release a redacted version of Mueller’s report on Russian election interference and President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.  

CBS News White House correspondent Paula Reid tweeted that the redacted Mueller report will be delievered to Congress sometime between 11 a.m. and noon.

Allan Lichtman, a political historian and American University professor, says that while holding a news conference before the report is released is a brilliant public relations strategy, it’s inappropriate for the Attorney General to do so.

“It should not a political appointee, beholden to the president who sets the narrative on an independent counsel report. It biases the whole process,” he says.

Mueller officially concluded his investigation late last month and submitted a nearly 400-page report to Barr.

The report is expected to reveal what Mueller uncovered about ties between the Trump campaign and Russia that fell short of criminal conduct. It will also lay out the special counsel's conclusions about formative episodes in Trump's presidency, including his firing of FBI Director James Comey and his efforts to undermine the Russia investigation publicly and privately.

Ahead of the release, WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell spoke to Elie Honig, a former federal prosecutor, who said he believes Congress, specifically the intelligence committees, should receive a full, unredacted version of the report.

“I think we'll get an awful lot of new information but, I don't think every question will be answered. We’re about to get almost 400 pages of information, even if half of it is redacted, which I don't expect, but even if hypothetically half of that is redacted, we’re still getting 200 pages of new information. Will answer every question? No, I think it'll be questioned the persist about how the facts that Mueller finds applies to the law and about whether there is enough cause for concern that Congress needs to have further follow up hearings,” Honig said.

He says that while the report may contain some sensitive materials, it’s still important for Congress to receive the full report and for the American public to receive the fullest possible disclosure.

“I want to see what Robert Mueller made of all of the known Russian contacts that members of Trump's campaign had, and in many of those cases, the subsequent lies,” he said.

Top Democrats, such as Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have also been calling for the full report since Mueller concluded his investigation in March.

In a joint statement, the two Democratic leaders said that Barr's past "bias" against the special counsel inquiry shows he is "not in a position to make objective determinations."

They said that "the fact that Mueller's report does not exonerate the president on a charge as serious as obstruction of justice demonstrates how urgent it is that the full report and underlying documentation be made public without any further delay."

Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee have also prepared to subpoena the Justice Department for the full report without redactions if they do not receive it on Thursday.

Barr is reportedly planning to color-code four types of redactions to differentiate between material about ongoing information, information affecting third parties, grand jury information and classified information

The attorney general will also testify before both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees about the Mueller report on May 1 and 2.

(© 2019 WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)