Justice Department prepared to declassify redacted Mueller documents: Report

While it is public knowledge that a lengthy probe by former special counsel Robert Mueller and his team found no proof of collusion between Russia and President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, much of that investigation remains classified. But that could be about to change.

A courtroom statement by lawyers from the U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday signaled that the agency is willing to provide additional unredacted material, according to the Washington Examiner.

“Another comprehensive review”

Attorneys representing the Justice Department’s civil division issued the statement in response to a lawsuit filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center and BuzzFeed under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

The statement indicated that agents within the department had “conducted another comprehensive review” of the redacted content within the Mueller documents.

“In the intervening more than a year since the Department first asserted its FOIA exemptions, a number of circumstances have changed, including the completion of trials and investigations, the provision of discovery in litigation, the evolution of malicious influence actors’ tactics and techniques, and the release of information in response to congressional and other requests,” the statement read in part.

The agency cited “techniques used during the investigation” as one aspect of the case that came to light as a result of the increased scrutiny.

“Accordingly, in conducting this additional review, the Department determined that certain information in the Report now could be released without harming government interests or pending matters,” the department added.

“Impairs the Department’s ability”

The statement cited “the time and resources needed to reprocessing records, which necessarily impairs the Department’s ability to process other records in a timely fashion,” as the reason for its plans to postpone reprocessing the Mueller report until a court order on the redactions is rendered.

Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), who serves as the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has long sought access to secret grand jury material used in the investigation.

While the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia determined in May that the material in question had to be surrendered, the U.S. Supreme Court announced earlier this month that it would review the case.

The ongoing dispute is not likely to be fully resolved by November’s election, which Nadler said was evidence that Attorney General William Barr and the Trump administration to “run out the clock on any and all accountability.”

Much of what has surfaced from Mueller’s investigation so far has only bolstered Trump’s position that the entire ordeal was a partisan “witch hunt.” It remains to be seen whether any forthcoming information will follow that trend.

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