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The Special Counsel’s Report: What Do Current DOJ Regulations Require and Can Congress Get It?

CRS Legal Sidebar via LC – The Special Counsel’s Report: What Do Current DOJ Regulations Require? March 7, 2019: “…This Sidebar examines the current legal obligations of the Special Counsel and Attorney General to report information relating to the investigation to Congress and the public. It also provides historical examples of reports issued for other such investigations. A companion Sidebar addresses potential legal issues that may arise if Congress seeks to compel release of information about the investigation, including issues involving executive privilege and the publication of grand jury information….

CRS Legal Sidebar via LC – The Special Counsel’s Report: Can Congress Get It? Updated – April 9, 2019: “After this Sidebar was originally published, the Attorney General reported to Congress on March 24, 2019 that the Special Counsel had submitted a report concerning “allegations that members of the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump, and others associated with it, conspired with the Russian government in its efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, or sought to obstruct related federal investigations.” In a subsequent letter, the Attorney General indicated that a redacted version of the report could be made available “by mid-April, if not sooner.” The letter identified four categories of information that would be redacted from the report: (1) grand jury material; (2) “material the intelligence community identifies as potentially compromising sensitive sources and methods; (3) material that could affect other ongoing matters, including those that the Special Counsel has referred to other Department offices; and (4) information that would unduly infringe on the personal privacy and reputational interests of peripheral third parties. ”In addition, on April 5, 2019, a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled in McKeever v. Barr that federal courts lack “inherent authority” to authorize the disclosure of grand jury matters in circumstances not covered by an explicit exception set out in Rule 6(e) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. Though the facts of McKeever are unrelated to the Special Counsel’s report, it appears that the appellate court’s decision in McKeever has, for the time being, closed off one potential avenue for Congress to obtain grand jury material in federal court in the District of Columbia (though the decision could always be reheard en banc or overturned by the Supreme Court)…”

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