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Salt Lake protesters rally for release of full Mueller report

SALT LAKE CITY — About 100 protesters convened Thursday in downtown Salt Lake City to demand that Attorney General William Barr release special counsel Robert Mueller's report as soon as possible.

"This is really a nonpartisan issue. It's about democracy, it's about transparency, it's about the rule of law, and it's about ethical government. And you know, we need to see this report. All we have is a summary from the president's hand-picked attorney general, and that is not enough," said Joanne Slotnik, a founder of activist group Salt Lake Indivisible, which organized the rally.

According to organizers, the event was part of a nationwide protest spurred by public interest organizations calling for Barr to make the report public.

Hazel wears a sign at a protest in front of the Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building in Salt Lake City on Thursday, April 4, 2019. The protest was to call on Attorney General William Barr and elected officials to take decisive steps to make special counsel
Hazel wears a sign at a protest in front of the Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building in Salt Lake City on Thursday, April 4, 2019. The protest was to call on Attorney General William Barr and elected officials to take decisive steps to make special counsel Robert Mueller's report public.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

On March 22, Barr released a four-page summary of Mueller's 400-page report of the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election of President Donald Trump. On Thursday, Barr said he expects to release the full report with some redactions to the public by mid-April.

But according to protesters at Thursday's rally, that isn't soon enough.

"We have to know what has gone on. We have to understand," Nancy McHugh told the Deseret News.

Slotnik, an attorney, said she doesn't believe making redactions should cause the delay.

"I mean, it was a 400-page report. Attorney General William Barr has all the resources of the United States Department of Justice at his beck and call. Surely he can redact the few things that need to be redacted more quickly than he has. … I think the Department of Justice could probably handle that," Slotnik said.

She and others at the rally said they weren't pleased with Barr's summary of the report.

"All we know is the way the attorney general has spun those 400 pages of the report," Slotnik said, adding that she hopes everyone in the country can see it and "make an ethical and moral judgement" about it for themselves.

River Biggs holds a sign during a protest in front of the Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building in Salt Lake City on Thursday, April 4, 2019. The protest was to call on Attorney General William Barr and elected officials to take decisive steps to make speci
River Biggs holds a sign during a protest in front of the Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building in Salt Lake City on Thursday, April 4, 2019. The protest was to call on Attorney General William Barr and elected officials to take decisive steps to make special counsel Robert Mueller's report public.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

For Tom Laabs-Johnson, the problem is the president himself, though he noted "I hesitate to call him that because he just misrepresents my values and misrepresents the values that I believe are important for our country."

He said he is concerned with potential redactions from the report and with Barr's objectivity. The report should be released to Congress without redactions "so we can get other eyes on it," Laabs-Johnson said.

Brett Webster believes the president is trying to hide the results of the report.

"I just can't sit idly by and be silent over what looks like … an effort by the president to hide this report. This is ours. This is America's report. We paid for it, and we shouldn't have a government where that can happen, where powerful people, the subjects of investigations, shouldn't be able to hide the results," Webster said.

"We need to see the results of this investigation and help heal, one way or another."

Retired Utah Court of Appeals Judge Fred Voros, told the crowd during the rally, "We will be the wind that clears the sky. That is because we believe that freedom is worth fighting for."

He said that everyone, including the president himself, was "shocked" when he won the election in 2016.

"How did this rich billionaire with a string of bankruptcies, this vulgar reality TV star, this grinning face on the cover of Playboy magazine, how did he do it?" Voros asked. "We now know. He won with help from a hostile foreign power."

But according to Barr's letter summarizing the report, Mueller's investigation "did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election."

Voros called Barr's letter "spin" and urged Barr to release the report with "minimal redactions and maximum transparency."

Contributing: AP

Correction: A previous version incorrectly spelled protester Joanne Slotnik's last name as Slotnick.

Protesters recite the Pledge of Allegiance during a rally in front of the Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building in Salt Lake City on Thursday, April 4, 2019. The protest was to call on Attorney General William Barr and elected officials to take decisive ste
Protesters recite the Pledge of Allegiance during a rally in front of the Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building in Salt Lake City on Thursday, April 4, 2019. The protest was to call on Attorney General William Barr and elected officials to take decisive steps to make special counsel Robert Mueller's report public.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News