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US judge orders White House and Department of Justice to confer about releasing unredacted Mueller report
US judge orders White House and Department of Justice to confer about releasing unredacted Mueller report

A federal judge for the district court of the District of Columbia on Thursday ordered the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the White House to confer on the administration’s official position regarding the unredacted release of the Mueller investigation report.

The order comes as part of a lawsuit concerning a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by reporter Jason Leopold and Buzzfeed News, among other organizations, for documents related to Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. The suit alleges that the DoJ did not provide all documents related to the government’s investigation of possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. District Judge Freddie Walton ruled recently that the DoJ had improperly redacted portions of the report, and ordered the DoJ to produce the portions before the November presidential election.

However, as a result of two Tweets President Donald Trump posted to his Twitter account, Leopold and Buzzfeed have filed an emergency motion with the court to remove the redactions. In the president’s Tweets on October 6, he claims to “have fully authorized the total Declassification of any & all documents” related to the investigation, and he wrote that the investigation “was Declassified by me long ago.” Based on the Tweets, the motion asks for the documents to be reprocessed to remove all redactions.

Judge Walton’s order to the DoJ requires the department to file a response to the motion by October 13. It further ordered the DoJ to consult the White House “in order to advise the Court as to the White House’s official position regarding the declassification and release to the public of information related to the Russia investigation.” A hearing on the motion is scheduled for all parties on October 16.