“Examination of the document reveals that the Attorney General was do not then undertook to make a decision on whether the President should be charged with obstruction of justice; it was obvious that he would not be prosecuted, ”wrote Jackson, a person appointed by former President Barack Obama.
Jackson linked the Justice Department’s efforts to keep the memo a secret to Barr’s initial descriptions of Mueller’s findings, saying both efforts were misleading.
“Not only was the Attorney General dishonest at the time, but the DOJ was dishonest to this Court regarding the existence of a decision-making process that should be protected by the privilege of the deliberative process.” , she wrote. the explanations obscure the true purpose of the brief, and the excised parties deny that the Attorney General was responsible for making a prosecution decision or that such a decision was on the table at all times.
Justice Department attorneys also argued that the memo was covered by attorney-client privilege, but Jackson said much of it did not appear to contain legal advice or conclusions. “The Court is not convinced that the agency has discharged its onus of showing that the memorandum was forwarded for the purpose of providing legal advice, as opposed to strategic and political advice which is not subject to privilege.” , wrote the judge.
Jackson noted that another Washington-based federal judge, Reggie Walton, had previously criticized Barr’s early description of the Mueller report. She said the criticism was “well-founded”.
Jackson released her opinion in part on Monday after reviewing the memo itself, a process she noted the Justice Department “strongly resisted.” She withheld parts containing the details of the memorandum of the version of her decision that has been made public.
The Justice Department can appeal Jackson’s decision to force release of the memo.
A ministry spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the decision. Efforts to reach the former officials named in the decision for comment were unsuccessful.
The freedom of information complaint Jackson tried on Monday was filed in 2019 by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.