Group Denied Request for Quick Release of Special Counsel’s Report

A request by a First Amendment advocacy group asking for the speedy release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report and underlying materials via the Freedom of Information Act was denied by a federal judge on Tuesday, who said the request failed to meet the requirements for such a move.

U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton, however, noted in his ruling that he understood the public was eager to see the report as soon as possible, but added that the Electronic Privacy and Information Center’s lawsuit didn’t meet the necessary threshold for an emergency move to be made.

“I can appreciate this is an extremely important subject matter to the nation,” said Walton during his hearing to address the request, which started shortly before that of Attorney General William Barr.

Barr vowed to the House Appropriations Committee to release the full report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election “within a week,” Politico informs.

DOJ trial attorney Courtney Enlow stressed during the hearing that she could not confirm a definite timeline for the report to be released, but noted that the department was finalizing the process of reviewing and redacting its sensitive contents.

She further called on Judge Walton to the already-established government process for handling the FOIA request after the long-awaited report is produced later this month.

Meanwhile, EPIC attorney Alan Butler argued that it was necessary that the public is informed ahead of a series of congressional hearings on the Russia investigation, arguing that it could be done by means of the request for quickly gaining access to the Mueller report.

“Time really is of the essence,” he said. “This process needs to begin as soon as practicable.”

A number of FOIA requests have already been made over the report and other documents tied to it. According to Enlow, there are 10 other cases which have been granted expedited review that also are already in litigation.

A DOJ filing last Friday shows that the department is processing 415 requests dealing with the Mueller probe.

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