Mueller investigated whether Trump misled him on WikiLeaks question in Russia probe

Former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE probed whether President TrumpDonald John TrumpGeraldo Rivera on Trump sowing election result doubts: 'Enough is enough now' Murkowski: Trump should concede White House race Scott Atlas resigns as coronavirus adviser to Trump MORE misled him in his Russia investigation, according to newly unredacted portions of Mueller's report that were re-released Friday. 

One portion of the report, which summarizes Mueller's findings from his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, suggests that Trump's written answer on a question about WikiLeaks and former adviser Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneFlynn spurs questions of who Trump might pardon next OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Trump pardons Flynn | Lawmakers lash out at decision | Pentagon nixes Thanksgiving dining hall meals due to COVID-19 Democratic impeachment leaders blast Trump's pardon of Flynn MORE was misleading.

According to the report, Trump had said he did not remember talking with Stone about WikiLeaks. But Trump's former attorney, Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenPress: Trump's biggest fear is — lock him up Biden faces politically thorny decision on Trump prosecutions New York expands Trump tax fraud investigations to include write-offs: report MORE, had separately recounted to Mueller that he "recalled a conversation in which Roger Stone told Trump that WikiLeaks planned to release information soon [and] Trump had asked him [Cohen] to stay in touch with Stone about WikiLeaks."


"It is possible that, by the time the President submitted his written answers two years after the relevant events had occurred, he no longer had clear recollections of his discussions with Stone or his knowledge of Stone's asserted communications with WikiLeaks," Mueller's report reads.

"But the President's conduct could also be viewed as reflecting his awareness that Stone could provide evidence that would run counter to the President's denials and would link the President to Stone's efforts to reach out to WikiLeaks," the report states, suggesting the special counsel had considered this as potential obstruction.

Mueller is clear to note in his report, however, that it was possible the president was not seeking to be misleading but simply forgot the events. 

Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison after he pleaded guilty to breaking campaign finance laws by facilitating payments to two women who accused Trump of having extramarital affairs with them and to lying to Congress about his efforts to help build a Trump Tower in Moscow in 2016.

The lawyer has been serving his sentence and was recently moved to home confinement during the coronavirus pandemic.


The new details come as the Department of Justice (DOJ) removed redactions from the Mueller report on Friday amid a court battle over information withheld from the report when it was initially made public. 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 redactions were originally put in place as Stone underwent his trial over charges of lying to Congress and witness tampering. He was convicted of all seven charges against him and was sentenced earlier this year to more than three years in prison.

Stone and WikiLeaks founder Julian AssangeJulian Paul AssangeAi Weiwei stages silent protest against Assange extradition Psychiatrist says Assange told him he was hearing imaginary voices, music Assange extradition hearing delayed over coronavirus concerns MORE communicated during the 2016 campaign, in part regarding damaging information Assange’s anti-secrecy site published about then-Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden budget pick sparks battle with GOP Senate Katko fends off Democratic opponent in New York race Harris County GOP chairman who made racist Facebook post resigns MORE’s presidential campaign.

Their discussions were part of Mueller's investigation as he probed whether Trump campaign officials sought foreign interference in the 2016 election.

Mueller ultimately did not establish that Trump or members of his campaign coordinated or conspired with Moscow to affect the 2016 presidential election, but he and his team declined to reach a conclusion on whether the president obstructed justice.

Updated 8:40 p.m.