Attorney General Loretta Lynch opened the door Tuesday to releasing transcripts of phone calls between Orlando shooter Omar Mateen and police -- a day after the Justice Department was pressured to reverse course on its censoring of key lines from the shooter's 911 call.
“We are looking to be as transparent as possible and to provide as much information as possible,” Lynch told reporters at an Orlando press conference after meeting with survivors of the June 12 massacre at Pulse Nightclub that left 50 people dead including the shooter.
“Over the course of time, we are certainly open to [releasing more transcripts]” Lynch said, although she would not say when or in what context the transcripts would be released.
Lynch’s remarks come a day after an embarrassing backpedal when, under pressure from Republican leaders and media outlets, the Justice Department released a full transcript of Mateen’s 911 call the night of the massacre -- after initially releasing a partly censored transcript.
An earlier version of the transcript had deleted the term “Islamic State” and the name of ISIS leader “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.”
The full transcript would show that during the 50-second 911 call, Mateen had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State's leader and said he was acting on their behalf.
“I pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may God protect him [in Arabic], on behalf of the Islamic State,” Mateen says in the unredacted transcript. The call came just over a half-hour into the June 12 slaughter.
The old version had several words scrubbed and instead read: "I pledge allegiance to [omitted] may God protect him [in Arabic], on behalf of [omitted]."
The FBI also released summaries of Mateen's phone conversations with law enforcement, but not entire transcripts.
Lynch had appeared on numerous Sunday talk shows, saying the transcripts would not include Mateen's oath of loyalty to ISIS so as not to spread his own propaganda.
“What we’re not going to do is further proclaim this man’s pledges of allegiance to terrorist groups, and further his propaganda,” Lynch told NBC. “We are not going to hear him make his assertions of allegiance [to the Islamic State].”
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., called that decision "preposterous."
"We know the shooter was a radical Islamist extremist inspired by ISIS," Ryan said in a statement. "We also know he intentionally targeted the LGBT community. The administration should release the full, unredacted transcript so the public is clear-eyed about who did this, and why."
After meeting with victims of the attack Tuesday, Lynch said at the press conference that she had been moved by the survivors’ resilience in the face of such a horrendous attack.
“I am inspired by the strength and the resilience of the survivors and their loved ones. And I am deeply moved by the way that this community – and our national community – has stood together in support of one another, in defiance of terror and in defense of our most cherished ideals,” Lynch said.
Lynch was scheduled to visit the memorial site at Orlando’s City Hall, as well as meet with first responders and other people affected by the tragedy.