(CNSNews.com) - Special Counsel reports "are not supposed to be made public," Attorney General William Barr told a news conference on Thursday, as he announced the imminent release of the Mueller report with "limited," color-coded redactions.
Barr repeated the four categories of redactions: grand jury material; information that would disclose sources and methods; information that would interfere with ongoing legal cases; and "information that implicates the privacy and reputational interests of peripheral third parties."
"As you will see, most of the redactions were compelled by the need to prevent harm to ongoing matters and to comply with court orders prohibiting the public disclosure of information bearing on ongoing criminal investigations such as the IRA case and the Roger Stone case," Barr said.
These redactions were applied by Department of Justice attorneys working closely together with attorneys from the Special Counsel's office as well as the intelligence community and prosecutors who are handling the ongoing cases.
The redactions are their work product...There were no redactions done by anybody outside this group. No one outside this group proposed any redactions. And no one outside the Department has seen the unredacted report with the exception of certain sections that were made available to I.C., the intelligence community, for their advice on protecting intelligence sources and methods.
President Trump did not assert executive privilege to withhold any of the material, although he could have, Barr said.
Barr said the president's personal attorneys did 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," Barr said.
Barr said he is working with Congress to "accommodate their legitimate oversight interests."
"Given the limited nature of the redactions, I believe that the publicly-released report will allow every American to understand the results of the special counsel's investigation. Nevertheless, in an effort to accommodate congressional requests, we will make available, subject to appropriate safeguards, to a bipartisan group of leaders from several congressional committees a version of the report with all redactions removed except those relating to grand jury information.
“Thus these members of Congress will be able to see all of the redacted material for themselves with a limited exception of that which by law cannot be shared.
"I believe that this accommodation, together with my upcoming testimony before the Senate and House Judiciary Committees, will satisfy any need congress has for information regarding the Special Counsel's investigation," Barr said.