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Everyone Is Asking for the Mueller Report, and You Can Too
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=48409"><span class="small">Joshua Eaton, ThinkProgress</span></a>   
Tuesday, 09 April 2019 13:21

Eaton writes: "It's been two weeks since Attorney General William Barr told Congress that special counsel Robert Mueller had finished his investigation."

Special Counsel Robert Mueller walks to St. John's Episcopal Church, for morning services, across from the White House, in Washington D.C., March 24th 2019. (photo: Cliff Owen/AP/REX/Shutterstock)
Special Counsel Robert Mueller walks to St. John's Episcopal Church, for morning services, across from the White House, in Washington D.C., March 24th 2019. (photo: Cliff Owen/AP/REX/Shutterstock)


Everyone Is Asking for the Mueller Report, and You Can Too

By Joshua Eaton, ThinkProgress

09 April 19


The Justice Department has been flooded with public records requests since the Russia probe wrapped.

t’s been two weeks since Attorney General William Barr told Congress that special counsel Robert Mueller had finished his investigation.

But while people across the country hold their breath waiting for Barr to hand Congress Mueller’s nearly 400-page findings, reportedly later this month, some people are taking matters into their own hands.

The Justice Department has received 198 public records requests related to the Mueller probe since the investigation ended on March 22, the department said in a court filing Friday. That’s nearly half of the 415 records requests related to the Mueller probe that the Justice Department was processing as of March 29.

Requests for records from the special counsel’s office continue to pile up, according to Vanessa Brinkmann, senior counsel in the Justice Department’s Office of Information Policy.

“This number continues to grow each day,” Brinkmann said in the court filing.

It’s not just the Mueller report people are after. The number of records requests the Office of Information Policy receives has risen dramatically since President Donald Trump took office, according to the filing. In fiscal years 2017 and 2018, the office received an average of 3,170 requests per year, up from an average of 1,046 per year during the George W. Bush administration and 1,505 per year during the Obama administration.

Even before the spike in requests to the Justice Department, the public records system across the government was notoriously underfunded and responsible for months- or years-long delays. In fiscal year 2018, the average processing time for a complex request at the Office of Information Policy was about 75 days.

That’s nothing compared to, for example, the Defense Department’s Southern Command, where the average processing time for a complex request in fiscal year 2018 was a whopping 864 days.

The intentions of this system, at least, were good. Back in 1977, Congress passed the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, to let members of the public request records from executive branch agencies. Anyone can make a FOIA request, but it’s become a favorite tool of reporters, advocacy groups, lawyers, and businesses.

The Justice Department did not say what records people have requested from the special counsel’s office, or who requested them. But the timing suggests that many of the requests — including two by this reporter — are for Mueller’s final report and related documents.

The good news for requesters is that the Justice Department can’t release the Mueller report to one requester but withhold it from others. So everyone who requested the report is likely to get it, though the timing may vary.

The Justice Department’s Office of Information Policy did not close any FOIA requests related to the Mueller probe in January or February, according to its website. It did close two requests for records about unspecified investigations by referring the requesters to other offices.

Barr told Congress last month that he will release the report by mid-April. But he wasn’t clear on whether that timeline was for public release or just release to Congress. He also said that he and the special counsel are redacting classified information, grand jury material, and information related to ongoing investigations.

That set up a fight with House Democrats, who want the attorney general to ask a court for permission to share the grand jury information with Congress. The House Judiciary Committee voted along party lines last week to authorize its chair, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), to issue subpoenas for the full report and underlying evidence. Nadler has said he will give Barr time to voluntarily comply before making good on the subpoena threat.

If Nadler does subpoena the report, the issue will likely wind up in court. But some FOIA requesters have already sued. Friday’s declaration was part of the government’s response in a case brought by the Electronic Privacy Information Center. BuzzFeed News reporter Jason Leopold, who’s know for his prolific use of FOIA, has also sued for the report.

If those and other cases move forward, they could end up challenging specific redactions in whatever version of the report the Justice Department releases to the public. Agencies have to justify redactions under specific exemptions written into FOIA.

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-21 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-04-09 18:51
Barr said it would be released in mid April and he repeated that today to congress. what's the rush. This author is just trying to whip his readers into a swivet so they never have a chance to reflect and think carefully and critically.

Calm down. The report will come out. It will be redacted but many of the redactions will be revealed over time. It is more than likely that there won't be much in the report. Mueller's job was basically defensive -- help to cover up the crimes committed by key DOJ and FBI higher-up in their rigging of the Clinton investigation.

It is already well known that the DOJ would have indicted Hillary had it not been for the interference of Obama and Loretta Lynch. Bill Clinton was also involved in this massive obstruction of justice. Mueller kept everyone focused somewhere else. Time as passed. Who cares about Hillary now. She got away with it. There are really important things to work on.

Barr and Mueller are old friends. They have the same goals.
 
 
+5 # economagic 2019-04-10 08:25
"Barr and Mueller are old friends. They have the same goals."

That is exactly the reason people are worried.
 
 
-2 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-04-10 12:31
Yeah, I think they both want to protect the FBI, DOJ, and CIA. If there is going to be any effort to get Trump out of the White House, it will now be up to congress. The DOJ has run its course and the Trump-Russia collusion has also run its course.
 
 
0 # economagic 2019-04-10 21:32
"If there is going to be any effort to get Trump out of the White House, it will now be up to congress."

Meaning it will be up to us. Congress is for the most part inert matter which will not move until acted upon by an outside force (Newton's First Law of Motion).
 
 
+1 # Billsy 2019-04-13 12:37
There has long been more than ample reason to impeach Trump regardless the contents of Mueller's report. The GOP continues to find him useful, caring nothing about their constitutional oaths & the public they are committed to serve. I'm with you. Depending on the security state to take the garbage out is a huge mistake. Between thhttps://reade rsupportednews. org/news-sectio n2/318-66/55943 -everyone-is-as king-for-the-mu eller-report-an d-you-can-too#a t and all my friends blathering about this nothing burger Mayor Pete while ignoring proven progressives like Sanders I hold out little hope except, thankfully, for young voters who seem willing to question EVERTHING.
 
 
0 # revhen 2019-04-10 08:05
"Well known?" Preposterous. It looks like the Mueller report process was all a sham. It provided an opportunity for Trump to distract us from his crimes by "attacking" Mueller. It was all a fake to support Trump. I can fantasize as well as anybody else!
 
 
0 # economagic 2019-04-22 08:59
I have inadvertently left this forum open for nearly two weeks, during which time you have surely realized that the Mueller report process was anything but a sham!