In response to CREW’s lawsuit, a federal judge ordered the Department of Justice to turn over a memo cited by then-Attorney General Bill Barr as his reasoning not to charge President Trump with obstruction of justice. The DOJ subsequently appealed the decision on May 24, 2021.


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The Department of Justice must turn over Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) advice the office gave to Attorney General William Barr about whether President Trump obstructed justice, according to a lawsuit filed by CREW.

During a press conference in April, Barr discussed his decision that Trump did not obstruct the Special Counsel’s investigation and noted that he consulted the OLC before reaching his conclusion “that the evidence developed by the Special Counsel is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.”

CREW sent a Freedom of Information Act request for those documents on April 18, 2019, as well as a request for expedition, due to strong public interest in the matter. CREW noted that the requested records would shed light on the legality of the Attorney General’s conclusions. Because Barr so directly and significantly placed his hand on the scales of justice in making and announcing his declination decision, the public deserves to know the full basis for that decision.

On April 19, 2019, the DOJ rejected CREW’s request for expedition, because it was “not a matter in which there exist possible questions about the government’s integrity that affect public confidence.”

CREW has received no other records or communications from the department since.

Lawsuit documents

  • May 28, 2019
  • February 14, 2020
  • Memorandum in Support of Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgement - August 12, 2020
  • August 12, 2020
  • August 12, 2020
  • August 12, 2020
  • Plaintiff's Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgement - September 2, 2020
  • Plaintiff's Response to Defendant's Statement of Material Fact - September 2, 2020
  • Brief of Appellee - On Appeal From The United States District Court for the District of Columbia - August 30, 2021

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