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Analysis | A key Mueller question is answered: The Justice Department didn’t block any investigations
For most of Mueller’s tenure, that meant that Rosenstein could tell Mueller what investigations or prosecutions he could and couldn’t pursue. Once Sessions was fired after the 2018 midterm elections and his replacement confirmed, that ability fell to Barr.

In other words, if Mueller wanted to launch an investigation into, say, Ivanka Trump, Rosenstein or Barr could have asked why and then, if desired, kept him from doing so. That meant that for close Mueller watchers, there was always a factor of the unknown: Was Mueller homing in on Donald Trump Jr. (as Trump Jr. at one point seemed to believe), only to have the Justice Department protect him?

This was especially interesting as an idea because of another part of the special counsel’s regulations. Mueller’s final report, delivered to Barr on Friday, doesn’t automatically become part of the public record. Instead, according to the regulations, Barr had only to inform Congress when Mueller’s work was completed — and provide “a description and explanation of instances (if any) in which the Attorney General concluded that a proposed action by a Special Counsel was so inappropriate or unwarranted under established Departmental practices that it should not be pursued."

In other words, if Barr or Rosenstein had blocked an investigation into Trump Jr., the Justice Department would have to tell Congress. That would open up a whole raft of possibilities for Democratic leaders in the House who are champing at the bit to uncover whatever rocks they can — or for prosecutors in other jurisdictions, such as New York state, looking to make a name by targeting Trump’s inner circle.

Late Friday afternoon, Barr’s message to Congress was sent. And one line in it answers the question about Trump Jr. or any other truncated investigations succinctly.

Barr noted the above requirement about instances in which Mueller was blocked from pursuing an investigation.

“There were no such instances during the Special Counsel’s investigation,” he then wrote. In other words, no low-hanging fruit waiting to be picked.
RobertMueller  politics  ethics  legal  DeptOfJustice  scandal  crime  government  transparency  WilliamBarr  JeffSessions  from instapaper
march 2019 by jtyost2

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