Both lawmakers on Capitol Hill and members of the general public are on pins and needles as they wait for Attorney General William Barr to dump a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller's nearly 400-page report on the Russia investigation Thursday.
Google searches for "Mueller report" spiked early Thursday — just before Barr was expected to take to a podium at a scheduled 9:30 a.m. ET news conference to present his interpretation of the report's findings before releasing the full document to Congress.
"I'm committed to ensuring the greatest degree possible of transparency concerning the special counsel's investigation consistent with the law," Barr said Thursday.
Here's what you need to know about the expected document dump.
What time will the Mueller report be released?
Barr took the stage to discuss his views on the materials at a 9:30 a.m. ET news conference, which is available to view via live stream.
After the news conference, the report will be delivered to Congress on CDs between 11 a.m. and noon and then posted on the special counsel's website to the wider public. Fox News will also provide live updates and highlights on the documents online Thursday morning.
On Wednesday, Barnes & Noble also provided curious readers instructions on how to download the nearly 400-page document.
"Be the first to read THE MUELLER REPORT for free! Pre-order today and it will be delivered to your NOOK Library upon expected release," wrote Barnes & Noble, adding that those who don't have the NOOK Library can download the NOOK reading app to read a PDF or "direct replica" of the report on their smartphones.
Which portions will be redacted?
It's up to Barr to determine how much information Congress will see.
Barr will redact any information he deems inappropriate or harmful to a person's character if he or she has not been charged with a crime. Classified information, grand jury items and closed-door testimony will also be protected.
According to Barr, these types of confidential information are broken down into four categories.
- Secrecy, grand jury materials
- Information that the IC believes would disclose sources and methods
- Information that would impair the investigation and prosecution of other ongoing cases
- Information that implicates the privacy and reputational interests of peripheral third parties
"To ensure as much transparency as possible, those redactions have been clearly labeled to readers can tell which redactions correspond to which categories," explained Barr during his early morning news conference.
"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 investigations and criminal cases," Barr continued.
At a later date, the Justice Department also plans to provide a "limited number" of members of Congress and their staff access to a copy of the Mueller report with fewer redactions than the public version, according to a court filing Wednesday.
During his confirmation hearing, Barr stressed that he would be as transparent as possible while following federal laws.
"I also believe it is very important that the public and Congress be informed of the results of the special counsel's work," he told the Senate Judiciary Committee in January, adding that he doesn't believe Mueller would be involved in a "witch hunt."
Why did Barr get to view the documents first?
When the investigation — which began in May 2017 — concluded, Mueller first released his final report to Barr, who was overseeing the special counsel since he took office in February.
"At the conclusion of the Special Counsel's work, he or she shall provide the Attorney General with a confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions reached by the Special Counsel," Cornell Law School explains in a blog post detailing the federal regulations.
Throughout the two-year probe, Mueller has also been required to flag any documents that detail any impending prosecutions or witness interviews, among other actions.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.