According to Politico, a federal judge has ordered the release of a Justice Department memo that supported former Attorney General William Barr’s conclusion that former President Donald Trump should not face prosecution for obstruction of justice related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson issued that ruling in a withering opinion that accused Barr of being “disingenuous” when describing Mueller’s findings and found that the Justice Department was not candid with the court about the purpose and role of the 2019 memo prepared by Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel.
In response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, Justice Department attorneys argued that the memo was part of the process of advising Barr on whether Trump should be prosecuted, but Jackson said the analysis consisted of a post hoc rationalization of a decision already made.
“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,” wrote Jackson, an appointee of former President Barack Obama.
Jackson linked Justice Department’s effort to keep the memo secret to Barr’s initial descriptions of Mueller’s conclusions, declaring both efforts misleading.
Politico noted that “The Justice Department can appeal Jackson’s decision to force release of the memo.”
The freedom-of-information suit Jackson ruled on Monday was filed in 2019 by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
Image credit: Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour / Public Domain