“The review of the document reveals that the attorney general was does not then committed to making a decision on whether the President should be charged with obstruction of justice; the fact that he would not be prosecuted was a given, ”wrote Jackson, a former nominee for President Barack Obama.
Jackson linked the Justice Department’s efforts to keep the note secret with Barr’s original descriptions of Mueller’s conclusions, declaring both efforts misleading.
“Not only was the attorney general inappropriate at the time, but the DOJ has been abusive to this court as to the existence of a decision-making process to be protected by the predominant procedural privilege,”
Justice Department attorneys also claimed the memo is 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 fulfilled its burden of demonstrating that the memorandum was submitted for the purpose of providing legal advice as opposed to the strategic and political advice that falls outside the scope of the privilege,” the judge wrote.
Jackson noted that another DC-based federal judge, Reggie Walton, previously criticized Barr’s early description of the Mueller report. She said the criticism was “well-founded.”
Jackson published her opinion in part Monday after reviewing the memo herself, a process she noted the Justice Department “strongly opposed.” She withheld some parts containing the details of the note from the version of her decision that was published.
The Department of Justice may appeal Jackson’s decision to force the release of the note.
A spokesman for the department did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Efforts to reach the former officials mentioned in the resolution for comment were not successful.
The Freedom of Information case, which Jackson ruled on Monday, was filed in 2019 by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
While it is unclear whether this has affected her decision, Jackson had a close-up of one of the biggest firestorms in Barr’s tenure as a lawyer: his decision to override prosecutors on the front lines and effectively withdraw their recommendation of a seven to nine. annual sentence for President Donald Trump’s longtime adviser Roger Stone with charges of lying to Congress and witnessing manipulation. Jackson – who was the judge in Stone’s trial – was not openly critical of Barr’s move, but made it clear in court that she believed it deviated from the administration’s stated policy on criminal convictions.
Jackson handed down the sentence over Stone to three and a half years in prison, but Trump reversed the sentence and eventually pardoned Stone directly.