Trump declassification move unnerves Democrats
DOJ plans to let some lawmakers view Mueller report 'without certain redactions'
The Department of Justice (DOJ) will allow some members of Congress to view a copy of special counsel Robert Mueller's report "without certain redactions," federal prosecutors said in a court filing Wednesday.
"Once the redacted version of the report has been released to the public, the Justice Department plans to make available for review by a limited number of Members of Congress and their staff a copy of the Special Counsel's report without certain redactions, including removing the redaction of information related to the charges set forth in the indictment in this case," prosecutors wrote in the filing.
The court document is part of longtime GOP operative Roger Stone's criminal case, which emerged from Mueller's probe.
A redacted version of the Mueller report is slated to be made public Thursday. Attorney General William Barr has also announced that he will hold a press conference on Thursday to discuss the report.
The federal prosecutors wrote in the filing that the Justice Department will not distribute the version of the report without the redactions to those lawmakers but that the agency "intends to secure this version of the report in an appropriate setting that will be accessible to a limited number of Members of Congress and their staff."
The filing, signed by U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Jessie Liu, states that the DOJ will ask the court for guidance if lawmakers ask for a copy of the full report or section of it "such that there exists a reasonable likelihood that the information related to the charges set forth in the indictment in this case may be available to the media, or accessible in a public setting, or 'disseminated by means of public communication.'"
Allowing some lawmakers to view the report may be an attempt by the DOJ to head off a potential subpoena from the House Judiciary Committee to hand over the whole report. However, it's unclear from the filing if the version of the report seen by Congress will have no redactions whatsoever, as lawmakers have requested.
The version of Mueller's report that will be publicly released Thursday morning is expected to be heavily redacted. Barr has repeatedly stated that grand jury material and other information, such as national security matters, will be left out of the public version of the report.
But he has indicated a willingness to work with Congress to allow lawmakers to see some of that redacted information, as Congress is permitted to view classified material.
Barr has also said he fears that if he turns over the full report to Congress, it will be leaked.
Wednesday's court filing comes as a response to Stone's legal team, which has demanded that they be permitted to review Mueller's report "in its entirety because it contains the government's evidence and conclusions on matters essential to Stone's defense."
Stone was indicted as part of Mueller's probe earlier this on several federal charges, including making false statements to investigators and witness tampering. He has denied wrongdoing in the case and is set to go on trial in November.