The District of Columbia Court of Appeals ruled on Friday that the Department of Justice must release an internal memo advising then-Attorney General Bill Barr in March 2019 to determine that former President Trump did not obstruct justice.
According to the appeals court, the memo urged then-Attorney General Bill Barr after the Mueller report was delivered “to conclude that President Trump had not obstructed justice.”
The letter was sent to Barr from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel and another department official after Special Counsel Robert Mueller delivered his report which investigated then-President Trump’s potential election interference and obstruction of justice.
Barr sent an overview of the Muller report to congress on March 24, 2019, stating that the report didn’t reach a conclusion on if then-President Trump obstructed justice, and said that there was insufficient evidence to make such a determination on his own.
Chief Judge Sri Srinivasan made the ruling in response to an ongoing lawsuit from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington against the Justice Department, which sought the release of the memorandum and all related records.
The Justice Department claimed that it could withhold the documents because they documented the agency’s internal discussions about governmental decisions, which can be used as a reason to keep documents from the public’s view.
The appeals court rejected the Justice Department’s reason for withholding documents and ordered the agency to release the memorandum in full.