Lawyer who helped write special counsel rules says Mueller report can be released

Neal Katyal, who helped draft the special counsel rules as a Justice Department lawyer in the late 1990s, said Friday that Attorney General William Barr can and should release special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerKamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE's final report.

Katyal, in an op-ed in The Washington Post, wrote that there are no regulations preventing Barr from publicizing Mueller’s findings, which were delivered to Barr late Friday afternoon.

“The public has every right to see Robert S. Mueller III's conclusions. Absolutely nothing in the law or the regulations prevents the report from becoming public. Indeed, the relevant sources of law give Attorney General P. William Barr all the latitude in the world to make it public,” Katyal wrote. 

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“Here, we are talking about credible concerns of wrongdoing by our nation’s most powerful man, and one who has not been shy about attacking the investigation itself,” he continued. “The idea that the special counsel regulations, which were written to provide the public with confidence against a coverup, would empower an attorney general to restrict disclosure in an investigation of the president is a nonstarter.” 

Mueller's sweeping investigation, which probed possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia and possible obstruction of justice by President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says 'Failing New York Times' should be held 'fully accountable' over Russia report Trump says 'Failing New York Times' should be held 'fully accountable' over Russia report Trump tweets ICE will begin removing 'millions' of undocumented migrants MORE, spanned nearly two years and has loomed large over Trump's administration.

Katyal, who has publicly condemned the president, said the long-anticipated Mueller report must be made public to bolster Americans' faith in the justice system. 

“To be sure, there is no one provision in the regulations that expressly requires a public release of Mueller’s report. But there is no one provision requiring presidential candidates to release their tax returns either, and we all know how that one turned out. The system is built on judgment and good faith,” he wrote, referencing Trump's refusal to release his tax returns. 

“The public must have confidence that justice was done, and the attorney general cannot treat an investigation of the president the way he can treat any other investigation, precisely because of the sweeping prosecution powers the president wields,” he added. 

Democrats have clamored to convince Trump and Barr to make Mueller’s full conclusions available to Congress and the public. Trump's conservative allies, meanwhile, are going on offense against the report, hoping to get out ahead of any potentially damaging revelations that may stem from it.

Barr has so far only committed to releasing as much of the report as is consistent with the law. Lawmakers expect to be briefed on the report this weekend, though a source familiar with the matter told The Hill on Saturday that they should not expect a briefing on Saturday.