Democrats in Congress aren’t the only ones who want details regarding Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s investigation. On Monday, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP) filed a motion in D.C. federal court seeking the release of grand jury materials that have been cited in Mueller’s report. Normally grand jury materials remain secret–and Attorney General William Barr said grand jury info would be redacted–but the RCFP claims that the Russia investigation is not a normal matter.
“This was no ordinary secret grand jury investigation but rather one that was in many respects public and that has affected the entire country and all branches of the federal government,” the motion says.
While Barr has said that Rule 6 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure requires secrecy regarding what happens before a grand jury, the RCFP argues that this isn’t necessarily the case here. Rule 6 does allow parties to petition a court to order the disclosure of grand jury materials. The organization already filed a Freedom of Information Act request for this information, and a court order would allow the Justice Department to include the pertinent grand jury information in their response.
“The Attorney General’s intended redactions will make stymie the efforts of not only the Reporters Committee in its FOIA request, but the intentions of members of Congress, too, who have asked that the report be released in full to the public,” the RCFP’s filing says. It describes efforts by the Democrat-led House Judiciary, Oversight, and Intelligence Committees to get the report.
If Barr is allowed to keep the grand jury information secret, the RCFP claims, it would hurt their “interests in transparent government, in enforcing the public’s right to access government records, and in advancing the newsgathering rights of journalists.” The Committee pointed to court orders unsealing information related to investigations of Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton as precedent. The court filing pointed to the Mueller report’s “significant historical interest,” and relevance going into the 2020 presidential election as reasons why it should be released with the grand jury information.
It also noted that “much of the information that relates to this grand jury investigation has already been made public, such as “subjects and targets of the investigation” and its outcome, and that “broad swaths” of information have been released in publicly available court filings. Because so much is already known, the RCFP claims, there is less reason to keep additional information secret anymore.
In addition to all of this, the RCFP pointed to President Donald Trump‘s own statements in support of the full disclosure of Mueller’s report.
“[T]he President’s position favoring public release of the report should carry great weight in light of the fact that the President himself was a subject of the investigation,” the filing says, quoting Trump, who said of the report, “Let it come out, let people see it.”
Law&Crime reached out to the Justice Department for comment, but they have yet to respond.
Read the RCFP’s full filing below.
RCFP Application on Scribd
[Image via NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images]
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