Federal Judge Reggie Walton delivered a ruling today (pdf version here) creating a firestorm narrative fight around the Mueller report. However, before reviewing the substance of the ruling it’s important to remember where Walton comes from.
For more than a decade DC Judge Walton has been skeptical of official government statements and the officials who deliver them. Going back to the early years of the Obama administration, and continuing through the IRS case(s) in Obama’s second term, Judge Walton’s suspicions have been consistent. Walton consistently wants to see the raw data, and doesn’t trust government presentations or interpretations of the underlying data.
It is against this outlook from the bench where Judge Walton tells the DOJ he wants to see the unredacted Mueller report so he can evaluate whether a FOIA lawsuit has any merit.
In the FOIA lawsuit Buzzfeed wants the unredacted Mueller report. The DOJ has refused to release the unredacted report because, despite Bill Barr’s instructions to the corrupt Mueller group, team Mueller included grand jury information in their final version.
This is the heart of the issue. The DOJ is saying all redactions were made based on DOJ policy and laws; Buzzfeed is challenging that assertion and saying they suspect the DOJ removed material from the Mueller report simply to advance a political narrative.
Judge Walton is saying he wants to see the unredacted report so he can make up his own mind on whether legally FOIA-able material exists. However, Walton is also going one big step further and actually questioning the credibility of AG Bill Barr. That’s the part where the resistance media is having a field day.
The media have been trying to portray Bill Barr as lacking credibility for a year. With a federal judge now putting that exact issue into his order the media are intoxicated with the smell of blood in the water… [pg #19]
HERE’s the FULL RULING:
There are a couple of issues:
First, we know Team Mueller intentionally manipulated the report; including their decision to put grand jury 6(e) material into the report; specifically to contrast President Trump in the worst light possible.
Second, we know AG Bill Barr recognized the political narrative written within the corrupt outline authored by Andrew Weissmann and the Mueller team; and took action to eliminate that politicization.
Third, from looking at Judge Reggie Walton’s decisions through the years; and looking at the ruling on the part where he wants to see the raw underlying material; he’s not doing anything out of the ordinary from what he normally does. However, that said, Walton calling AG Barr’s credibility into question is quite remarkable.
Judge Walton did a good job calling the Obama administration and DOJ to task in the IRS targeting of conservative groups [SEE HERE] and [SEE HERE] ultimately resulting in the DOJ and IRS admitting what took place and settling class-action lawsuits as a result.
If AG Bill Barr did what he said he did, there shouldn’t be an issue.