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Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

D.C. District Judge Reggie Walton ordered Thursday the Justice Department to submit the full unredacted Mueller report for his review, stating that Attorney General Bill Barr's representations of the report prior to its release preclude him from accepting the Justice Department's redactions without "independent verification."

Why it matters: It's a rare instance of a federal judge, who filed the order as part of a freedom of information lawsuit by BuzzFeed News, calling into question the motives and impartiality of the attorney general in a politically explosive investigation.

Context: On March 24, Barr sent Congress his summary of the "principal conclusions" from the Mueller report, which stated that the special counsel found that the Trump campaign did not conspire with Russia and that the Justice Department determined President Trump did not obstruct justice.

  • On March 27, Mueller sent a letter to Barr objecting to his March 24 characterization of the report.
  • The Justice Department later issued a statement defending Barr's letter, reiterating that it was a summary of his "principal conclusions" and not an attempt to summarize the report itself.

What they're saying:

"The speed by which Attorney General Barr released to the public the summary of Special Counsel Mueller’s principal conclusions, coupled with the fact that Attorney General Barr failed to provide a thorough representation of the findings set forth in the Mueller Report, causes the Court to question whether Attorney General Barr’s intent was to create a one-sided narrative about the Mueller Report — a narrative that is clearly in some respects substantively at odds with the redacted version of the Mueller Report. ...
These circumstances generally, and Attorney General Barr’s lack of candor specifically, call into question Attorney General Barr’s credibility and in turn, the Department’s representation that 'all of the information redacted from the version of the [Mueller] Report released by [ ] Attorney General [Barr]' is protected from disclosure by its claimed FOIA exemptions."
— Judge Reggie Walton

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Read the full order.

Go deeper

Updated 9 mins ago - Health

California surpasses 50,000 COVID-19 deaths

A man prepares a funeral arrangement in in Los Angeles, California, Feb. 12. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

California's death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 50,000 on Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: It's the first state to record more than 50,000 deaths from the coronavirus.

1 hour ago - Technology

Facebook bans Myanmar military

A protester holds a placard with a three-finger salute in front of a military tank parked aside the street in front of the Central Bank building during a demonstration in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo by Aung Kyaw Htet/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook said on Wednesday it would ban the rest of the Myanmar military from its platform.

The big picture: It comes some three weeks after the military overthrew the civilian government in a coup and detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi, causing massive protests to erupt throughout the country. Military leaders have been using internet blackouts to try to maintain power in light of the coup.

It's harder to fill the Cabinet

Data: Chamberlain, 2020, "United States of America Cabinet Appointments Dataset" Chart: Will Chase/Axios

It's harder now for presidents to win Senate confirmation for their Cabinet picks, an Axios data analysis of votes for and against nominees found.

Why it matters: It's not just Neera Tanden. The trend is a product of growing polarization, rougher political discourse and slimming Senate majorities, experts say. It means some of the nation's most vital federal agencies go without a leader and the legislative authority that comes with one.

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