Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said “the rule of law is secure” with a Justice Department led by Attorney General William Barr.
Rosenstein’s brief profile of Barr appeared in Time’s 2019 list of 100 most influential people, published online just one day before Barr’s redacted release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report is expected to spur a fierce partisan battle over transparency.
“The enthusiasm in and around the Department of Justice was palpable when President Trump announced his nomination of Attorney General William Pelham Barr,” Rosenstein wrote. “A brilliant and principled conservative lawyer, Barr brings unique experience to the challenge of working at the intersection of law and politics.”
Rosenstein wrote about how Barr, during his first stint as attorney general from 1991 to 1993, handled “politically sensitive cases” with deft care.
“He earned widespread respect for his integrity and professionalism, and he enhanced that reputation in the private sector,” Rosenstein said.
“Now Barr returns to public service with a hearty sense of humor, a lifetime of wisdom and a valuable perspective about the Department of Justice,” he added. “He knows the history, he understands the issues, he respects the employees, and he will defend the principles. With Bill Barr at the helm, the rule of law is secure.”
Barr released a four-page summary of Mueller’s report last month, which said Mueller did not establish the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 presidential campaign. The summary also said Mueller did not reach a conclusion on whether Trump had obstructed justice during the investigation but said Mueller also did not exonerate the president. Barr said he and Rosenstein concluded Trump had not committed obstruction.
Barr’s summary has come under heavy scrutiny, and critics have pointed to instances in the past in which he wrote summaries they view as obscuring the truth.
Barr later identified four categories of information that will not be made public on Thursday, including material related to grand jury proceedings which by law cannot be made public, information deemed by the intelligence community to compromise sensitive sources and methods, details that could affect other ongoing investigations — including those referred by the special counsel’s office to other offices — and material that would “unduly infringe on the personal privacy and reputational interests of peripheral third parties.”
Meanwhile, Democrats are poised to subpoena for access to the full report.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., “has said that subpoenas could come very quickly if we do not receive the full, unredacted report with the underlying evidence from DOJ. We will have to see what comes out on Thursday,” Nadler’s spokesman Daniel Schwarz told the Washington Examiner.
Rosenstein has indicated he is leaving the Justice Department soon, but has lingered as the process of receiving and redacting Mueller’s report has taken place. He appointed Mueller as special counsel after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in May 2017.