President Donald Trump confirmed that “he would not assert privilege over” any aspects of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia report, Attorney General William Barr said Thursday.
Even though Trump “would have been well within his rights” to assert privilege over parts of the report, he didn’t, Barr said in a press briefing preceding the release of Mueller’s final report:
“Consistent with long-standing executive branch practice, the decision whether to exert executive privilege over any portion of the report rested with the president of the United States. Because the White House had voluntarily cooperated with the special counsel, significant portions of the report contain material over which the president could have asserted privilege. And he would have been well within his rights to do so.
“Following my March 29th letter, the office of the White House counsel requested the opportunity to review the redacted version of the report in order to advise the president on the potential invocation of privilege, which is consistent with long-standing practice. Following that review, the president confirmed that in the interest of transparency and full disclosure to the American people, he would not assert privilege over the special counsel's report. Accordingly, the public report I am releasing today contains redactions only for the four categories that I previously outlined, and no material has been redacted based on executive privilege.
“In addition, earlier this week, the president's personal counsel requested and was given the opportunity to read a final version of the redacted report before it was publicly released. That request was consistent with the practice followed under the Ethics in Government Act, which permitted individuals named in a report prepared by an independent counsel the opportunity to read the report before publication.
“The president's personal lawyers were not permitted to make, and did not request, any redactions.”