WASHINGTON, D.C., March 5, 2019 – In the latest edition of Yeomans Work, AFJ Senior Justice Fellow Bill Yeomans notes that there is plenty of Justice Department precedent to release the full findings of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Writes Yeomans:
“Speculation abounds that Special Counsel Robert Mueller will produce a report imminently. Even if he does, it will be a confidential report to Attorney General Barr, who will then decide how much of the substance and supporting material of Mueller’s investigation to release to Congress and the public. During his confirmation testimony, Barr cautioned that the combination of the special counsel regulations and DOJ practice of not commenting on individuals who will not be charged substantially limits what he can reveal about the substance of Mueller’s investigation. In fact, the special counsel regulations establish only the minimum that the attorney general must reveal, and DOJ practice fully supports sharing almost all of the contents of the report and supporting material with Congress and the public. The practice of CRT [Civil Rights Division] provides ample precedent for the attorney general to release as much information from the Mueller investigation as will serve the public interest.”
Yeomans points to the element of public interest as particularly significant: “A familiar example is the 86-page memorandum detailing the investigation into the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in August 2014. The shooting sparked civil unrest. The release of the Ferguson report, containing detailed descriptions of witness statements and forensic evidence, showed the community that the federal government had fully investigated.”
In fact, he writes, findings have been made public in some of the department’s most sensitive cases. In the case of the Mueller investigation, the same should occur, because “the evidence addressing concerns that the President, his campaign, or administration have conspired with a hostile foreign power or obstructed investigation of that conduct also merits broad public disclosure. According to DOJ practice, Barr has discretion to reveal the details of Mueller’s investigation. He should exercise it.”
Yeomans Work focuses on the challenges to the justice system in the era of Trump. Bill Yeomans is available for media interviews. Contact Laurie Kinney, Communications Director, at [email protected] or 202-464-7367.