The Electronic Privacy Information Center has sued the Department of Justice to release special counsel Robert Mueller's final report to Attorney General William Barr regarding the prosecutorial decisions in his investigation— and other nonpublic records from the investigation.
The new Freedom of Information Act lawsuit came less than two hours after the Justice Department announced the Mueller investigation’s wrapped up Friday night.
The group also points out to the court a number of other documents Mueller was to prepare and transmit to the attorney general during his tenure.
“The public has a right to know the full scope of Russian interference in the 2016 United States presidential election and whether the President of the United States played any role in such interference,” the government transparency advocacy group wrote in the lawsuit in DC federal court. “The public also has a right to know whether the President unlawfully obstructed any investigation into Russian election interference or related matters. The requested records are vital to the public’s understanding of these issues and to the integrity of the political system of the United States.”
The group first asked the Justice Department in November 2018 for a wide swath of non-public records in the special counsel investigation.
The Justice Department said the unusual circumstances of the request allowed the agency more time to decide what to release — but DOJ also noted it could not “identify a particular urgency” to get information to the public quickly, according to the lawsuit.
Many other lawsuits already exist in the same federal court, from other groups seeking slivers of documents and disclosures related to Mueller’s investigation. Some have been successful to a limited extent, winning the public release so far of emails between the special counsel’s office and the media, and, in other situations, the unsealing of some court records, for instance.
The White House and President Trump's advisers are already framing today’s development as a positive sign.
One person told CNN “we won” and that the campaign has been absolved because there weren’t any charges related to conspiracy or obstruction.
“Zero indictments means we’re clear,” the source said. The source also said it’s an embarrassment for Democrats.
One White House official added “the fat lady has sung.”
The official also pointed out not one single Trump associate has been (or will be) charged with any collusion or any wrongdoing on the campaign or while Trump was in office.
The source added that it’s “absolutely embarrassing” for Democrats and the media who have been saying collusion for more than two years.
A Trump campaign adviser told CNN that "it’s a great day for America ... we won.”
Attorney General William Barr has left for the evening, a Justice Department official said.
Earlier today, a department official said Barr was reading special counsel Robert Mueller's report.
Peter Carr, spokesman for the special counsel’s office, said Mueller "will be concluding his service in the coming days."
Lawmakers are expected to receive the principal conclusions of special counsel Robert Mueller's report, in writing, from Attorney General William Barr this weekend, according to a Justice Department official.
And that distillation from Barr will be made public, the official said.
Special counsel Robert Mueller has finished his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and turned over his final report to Attorney General William Barr.
In a letter to lawmakers Friday afternoon, Barr said he might be ready to share Mueller's "principal conclusions" with Congress "as soon as this weekend," and a Justice Department official said that information may be made public.
But it's unclear how much of Mueller's full work the public will see — or when it will be released.
Here are the looming questions:
- Was there a conspiracy to collude?
- Why didn't Mueller interview Trump in person?
- What will the public see of Mueller's report?
- Were there even more contacts with Russians?
- Did Trump or anyone else obstruct justice?
- Are there more big lies that will be exposed?
- Was Trump deemed a counterintelligence threat?
- How much of the dossier could Mueller confirm?
- What did Mueller find when he crossed Trump's "red line?"
- Will Mueller knock down left-wing conspiracies?
- How many related investigations are still active?
Attorney General William Barr is still at the Justice Department, and he's reading special counsel Robert Mueller's report, a Justice official said.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who was expected to leave the Justice Department sometime in mid-March, doesn’t have a departure date at this time.
Special counsel Robert Mueller "will be concluding his service in the coming days," according to Peter Carr, spokesman for the special counsel’s office.
Carr went on to say, "A small number of staff will remain to assist in closing the operations of the office for a period of time.”
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer just spoke to reporters about special counsel Robert Mueller's report.
Schumer again called for the report's release.
“Now that the special counsel Mueller has submitted his report to the attorney general it is imperative for Mr. Barr to make the full report public, and provide its underlying documentation and findings to Congress,” Schumer said.
Earlier today, Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released a joint statement calling on Attorney General William Barr "to make the full report public and provide its underlying documentation and findings to Congress."
Watch his statement:
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff said on Friday that his panel was willing to subpoena special counsel Robert Mueller, if needed, in order to obtain a clearer picture of the contents of his final report.
"If necessary, we will call Bob Mueller or others before our committee," he told CNN's Wolf Blitzer, predicting that the Judiciary Committee may summon Attorney General Bill Barr for testimony as well.
Barr received Mueller's completed report Friday, and could brief House committee leaders on its key conclusion as soon as this weekend.
"At the end of the day, the (Justice) department is under a statutory obligation to provide our committee with any information regarding significant intelligence activities, including counterintelligence. And it's hard to imagine anything more significant than what Bob Mueller has been investigating."
"This began as a counterintelligence investigation by the FBI. It began as the same in our committee, and we have a right to be informed and we will demand to be informed about it," he added.
Schiff did not say whether the Mueller's potential testimony would occur behind closed doors or publicly.
Hear the moment: