I'm not quite sure why the DoJ is still fighting this, considering there's a new sheriff in town. But Judge Amy Berman Jackson is taking no guff, especially when it comes to Bill Barr's rationale. Via Politico:
A federal judge has ordered the release of a key Justice Department memo supporting former Attorney William Barr’s conclusion that former President Donald Trump should not be prosecuted for obstruction of justice over episodes investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller.
U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson issued that ruling in a withering opinion that accused Barr of being “disingenuous” when describing Mueller’s findings and found that the Justice Department was not candid with the court about the purpose and role of the 2019 memo prepared by Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel.
I loved this part. In response to the Freedom of Information Act lawsuit from CREW, DoJ attorneys argued that the memo was part of the process of advising Barr on whether Trump should be prosecuted, but Jackson said nah.
She said the "analysis" was just a rationalization of a decision already made. She said Barr clearly already decided Trump would not be charged with obstruction of justice.
“Not only was the Attorney General being disingenuous then, but DOJ has been disingenuous to this Court with respect to the existence of a decision-making process that should be shielded by the deliberative process privilege," she wrote. "The agency’s redactions and incomplete explanations obfuscate the true purpose of the memorandum, and the excised portions belie the notion that it fell to the Attorney General to make a prosecution decision or that any such decision was on the table at any time.”
She wouldn't let DoJ claim attorney-client privilege, either. She said the agency didn't demonstrate that the memo was providing legal advice, as opposed to strategy and policy advice.
Jackson released her opinion in part Monday after reviewing the memo herself, a process which she noted that the Justice Department “strongly resisted.”
The Justice Department can appeal. Stay tuned!