Judge Reggie Walton indicated at a court hearing Wednesday morning that he wants the Justice Department to release some of the most newsworthy FBI narratives of witness interviews as soon as possible, such as those related to the prosecution of Roger Stone.
Walton on Wednesday urged the Justice Department’s Freedom of Information Act unit to find ways to make the 800 interview summaries, known as 302s, publicly available more quickly.
He also told the Justice Department to look into the burden of releasing the narratives that Roger Stone’s attorneys received during his trial preparations. Walton said he could set a deadline to release these documents in January. He also discussed at the hearing the possibility of the Justice Department releasing summaries that the House has seen from key Mueller witnesses, including those from White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, White House aide Stephen Miller and former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
The Justice Department maintains that its FOIA office is looking for more people and technological help to process the tens of thousands of Mueller-related FOIA requests more quickly. But at this point, an attorney for Justice Department said, they can’t do much more than process 500 pages a month to satisfy CNN’s request for the interview summaries.
Many FOIA requests that BuzzFeed sued over are now on hold as the Justice Department works on these.
CNN’s narrow lawsuit over Mueller 302s is in a combined lawsuit with BuzzFeed’s broad request for many types of Mueller documents.
Walton will hold another hearing on which documents they’re releasing to CNN and how quickly they can do that on November 25.