The Justice Department could make public a summary of the findings of Robert Mueller’s investigation into former President Donald Trump and his alleged ties to Russia that contains information left out of the final report sent to Congress and eventually made public.
Politico reported that the US Attorney’s office in Manhattan told a federal judge on Thursday that the Justice Department has made progress on a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request submitted by The New York Times for the document. The summary’s existence was first revealed by one of its authors, Andrew Weissman, who served in a management position on the Mueller investigation, in a book published in 2019, and it has sometimes been referred to as an “alternative” Mueller report in media.
According to the US Attorney’s office, the Justice Department has located the document and is in the process of review ahead of its potential release to the Times. If the agency determines that portions or all of the summary fall under FOIA disclosure guidelines, it will be released in full or part to the newspaper.
It isn’t clear at all whether the summary, which Mr Weissman describes in his book as “an internal report memorializing everything we found, our conclusions, and the limitations on the investigation”, will contain any interesting information not previously released to the public. The Justice Department proposed updating a court on the status of the FOIA claim in February, according to Politico.
Mr Mueller’s 2019 report found that Mr Trump took multiple actions that could be seen as obstructing justice throughout the investigation, while leaving the final question on the matter open. It also found that while Russia meddled substantially in the 2016 election, no members of Mr Trump’s campaign or inner circle could be proved to have colluded with a foreign government.
The probe did lead to numerous criminal convictions against Mr Trump’s associates and former campaign officials on a wide range of issues including tax fraud and lying to investigators.
Mr Mueller testified before Congress in 2019 and reinforced that his team “did not make any determination with regard to culpability in any way” regarding whether Mr Trump obstructed justice throughout the investigation, while maintaining that Russia’s attempts to influence US political discourse had grave implications.