By RFE RL
By Mike Eckel
(RFE/RL) — U.S. Attorney General William Barr has said he expects to release a fuller version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russia’s interference into the 2016 U.S. presidential election “within a week,” but he does not intend to provide a complete, unredacted copy to Congress.
Barr made the comments on April 9 in response to questions from lawmakers on a House of Representatives committee.
Barr’s appearance before the committee is the first since Mueller completed his report, and Barr released a four-page summary to Congress on March 24.
“Within a week I will be in position to release that report to the public,” Barr told the committee.
He added later, “I don’t intend at this stage to send the full, unredacted report to the committee.”
Barr’s summary was criticized by Democratic lawmakers as inadequate, particularly after it was revealed Mueller’s entire report is about 400 pages.
In that summary, Barr said that Mueller’s nearly two-year investigation “did not establish that members of the [President Donald] Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”
Barr also wrote that the evidence uncovered in the probe was “not sufficient” to establish that Trump had obstructed justice.
Barr’s letter did not detail what Mueller learned about a range of Trump associates who had Russia-related contacts during the 2016 campaign and postelection transition period.
It also didn’t explain why several of those Trump associates lied to federal investigators or Congress during the investigation.
Barr has pledged that he would release as much of the report as he can.
Sensitive information could include evidence gathered by a grand jury, classified intelligence sources and methods, and ongoing criminal investigations.
Barr’s appearance before the committee came nearly at the same time that Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared at a business forum in St. Petersburg, Russia, where he was asked about the Mueller report.
Putin asserted that Mueller’s report validated Moscow’s repeated denials of collusion with Trump’s campaign, and he said Democrats’ claims to that effect were just their failure to accept Trump’s election victory.
“We have said from the very beginning that this notorious commission of Mr. Mueller would not find anything, because nobody knows better than us,” Putin was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying. “Russia did not meddle in any elections in the United States.”
Barr’s summary of Mueller’s report does mention substantial Russian efforts to interfere in 2016 that took at least two forms.
The first involved the so-called “Russia troll factory” — a company formally known as the Internet Research Agency that U.S. officials said sought to spread disinformation and sow confusion and discord during the 2016 election campaign.
The company, which is reportedly owned by a Russian businessman close to the Kremlin, was indicted by Mueller’s prosecutors, along with the businessman and others.
The second involved a hacking campaign that allegedly was overseen by Russian military intelligence and that targeted U.S. political operatives. Mueller prosecutors indicted 12 of those officers in 2018.
In a statement released in January 2017, just weeks before Trump took office, the U.S. intelligence community said it had concluded that Russia sought to influence the 2016 election using a coordinated cyber-and-propaganda campaign.
Later, U.S. officials said that the effort was specifically aimed at undermining Trump’s election rival, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.