“A review of the document reveals that the Attorney General was no then commits to deciding whether the President should be accused of obstructing justice; the fact that he will not be persecuted was a given, “wrote Jackson, who was appointed to former President Barack Obama.
Jackson linked the Justice Department’s efforts to keep the note secret to initial descriptions of Mueller’s Bar findings, declaring both efforts misleading.
“At the time, the Attorney General was not only dishonest, but the DOJ was dishonest before this court regarding the existence of a decision-making process that must be protected from the privilege of the deliberative process,”
Justice Department lawyers also say the note is covered by the privilege of a client lawyer, but Jackson said much of it does not appear to contain legal advice or conclusions. “The court is not convinced that the agency has fulfilled its burden to prove that the memorandum was submitted for the purpose of providing legal advice, unlike strategic and political advice, which does not fall within the scope of the privilege,” the judge wrote.
Jackson noted that another DC-based federal judge, Reggie Walton, had previously criticized Barr’s early description of Mueller’s report. She said the criticism was “justified”.
Jackson released her opinion in part on Monday after reviewing the note itself, a process she noted that the Justice Department “strongly resists.” It retained some parts, which included details of the note from the version of its decision that had been made public.
The Department of Justice may appeal Jackson’s decision to force the release of the note.
A department spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the decision. Efforts to reach the comments of former employees mentioned in the decision were unsuccessful.
Jackson’s lawsuit for freedom of information, filed on Monday, was filed in 2019 by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
Although it is unclear whether this influenced her decision, Jackson had a close look at one of the biggest storms of Bar’s term as Attorney General: his decision to repeal first-line prosecutors and effectively withdraw their recommendation for seven to nine an annual sentence for longtime President Donald Trump’s adviser Roger Stone on charges of lying to Congress and falsifying witnesses. Jackson – who was a judge in Stone’s trial – was not openly critical of Bar’s move, but made it clear in court that he believed this deviated from the administration’s sentencing policy.
Jackson sentenced Stone to three and a half years in prison, but Trump commuted the sentence and eventually pardoned Stone outright.