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DOJ releases part of Russian probe internal memo, seeks to block release of full document JURIST – News – Legal News & Commentary
May 26, 2021
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday released a part of an internal memo that was used in 2019 by former Attorney General William Barr in his decision not to prosecute former President Donald Trump for obstruction of justice. Late on Monday, the DOJ said in a court filing in the US District Court for the District of Columbia that it would seek to block the full document from release.
Barr made his determination in 2019 that there was insufficient evidence to charge Trump with obstruction of justice based upon the Mueller report. In response, the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington sought access through the Freedom of Information Act to the memo.
The DOJ made a portion of the memo public. However, in October, a judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia ordered the DOJ and the White House to confer on the administration’s official position on the unredacted release of the Mueller investigation report. In early May, US District Judge Amy Jackson said that the memo should be released.
On Monday, the DOJ released more of the internal memo. The memo was written by Steven Engel, former US Assistant Attorney General, and Edward O’Callaghan, US Acting Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General. The released portion stated the conclusion that the evidence did not seem to be sufficient to support a conclusion beyond a reasonable doubt that Trump violated the obstruction-of-justice statutes. However, the memo stated that the department declined to reach a decision and that the department believed that Barr should make a decision.
Also on Monday, the DOJ appealed the US District Court for the District of Columbia’s memorandum opinion and order, stating that it would seek to block the full document from release.
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