Around the world (Reuters Top News) — U.S. attorney general faces daunting decision on release of Russia report reut.rs/2EzS0Ag.
Newly installed U.S. Attorney General William Barr must walk a political and legal tightrope in deciding how much of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russia's role in the 2016 election to disclose, balancing competing demands from President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats, legal experts said.
The decision presents Barr, a veteran Washington insider, with his first major test since becoming the top U.S. law enforcement official last month, a position fraught with peril. Trump fired Barr’s predecessor Jeff Sessions in November after complaining for months over the decision by Sessions to recuse himself from overseeing the Russia investigation.
“I think Barr is in a terrible position from the standpoint of having two masters to please, each of which has a very different desire,” said Michael Zeldin, a former federal prosecutor. “He has a political nightmare on his hands.”
Mueller, who has headed the investigation since May 2017, is due to submit to Barr his confidential report on whether Trump’s campaign conspired with Russia and whether the Republican president has unlawfully sought to obstruct the probe.
Democrats, who have expressed concern Barr will try to shield Trump and bury parts of the report, already have threatened to subpoena it and go to court if necessary to force its release. Trump may pressure Barr to conceal damaging parts of Mueller’s report and release any findings that may exonerate him.