National Security

Mueller report re-released with fewer redactions after legal battle

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday removed a number of redactions from former special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election amid a court battle over information withheld from the report.

The DOJ submitted the re-processed report in a court filing, saying that the redactions in question are no longer necessary following the conclusion of the criminal case against Roger Stone, the longtime GOP operative and former Trump campaign adviser.

The department said the redactions were originally made to protect the prosecution against Stone over charges of lying to Congress and witness tampering.

Stone was convicted of all seven charges against him and was sentenced earlier this year to more than three years in prison.

The new information from the report comes three months after a federal judge demanded that the DOJ hand over the unredacted report for his review and blasted Attorney General William Barr’s handling of its publication.

“The inconsistencies between Attorney General Barr’s statements, made at a time when the public did not have access to the redacted version of the Mueller Report to assess the veracity of his statements, and portions of the redacted version of the Mueller Report that conflict with those statements cause the Court to seriously question whether Attorney General Barr made a calculated attempt to influence public discourse about the Mueller Report in favor of President Trump despite certain findings in the redacted version of the Mueller Report to the contrary,” Judge Reggie B. Walton wrote in a decision from March.

The developments came in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits from the nonprofit Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and news outlets Buzzfeed and CNN.
 
The new version of the public report reveals a section in Volume I devoted to Stone’s efforts to act as a liaison between the 2016 Trump presidential campaign and WikiLeaks, which at the time was releasing troves of hacked emails from Democratic Party officials and Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
 
Much of the newly-revealed information served as the basis for Mueller’s prosecution of Stone and was revealed during his trial.
 
Prosecutors charged that Stone lied to Congress about his efforts to communicate with WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange through a backchannel.
 
The Mueller report details Stone’s communications with then-candidate Trump and top officials in his campaign in which he claimed to have inside knowledge of WikiLeaks plans, months before the organization released a trove of hacked emails from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
 
“Stone also had conversations about WikiLeaks with Steve Bannon, both before and after Bannon took over as the chairman of the Trump Campaign,” the report reads. “Bannon recalled that, before joining the Campaign on August 13, 2016, Stone told him that he had a connection to Assange.”
 
“Stone implied that he had inside information about WikiLeaks,” the report continues. “After Bannon took over as campaign chairman, Stone repeated to Bannon that he had a relationship with Assange and said that WikiLeaks was going to dump additional materials that would be bad for the Clinton Campaign.”
 
Stone is currently appealing his case and is set to report to prison by the end of the month. Trump has openly toyed with the idea of granting him a full pardon, decrying the case against him from Mueller’s office as part of a witch hunt.

Tal Axelrod contributed.

Updated: 7:41 p.m.

Tags Donald Trump Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Julian Assange Mueller report Robert Mueller Robert Mueller Roger Stone Roger Stone Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections Special Counsel investigation Steve Bannon William Barr

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