How Much of the Mueller Report Was Redacted? Our Journalists Answer Readers’ Questions

Almost two years after the Mueller investigation began, the special counsel’s findings, submitted last month, have become public. On Thursday, Attorney General William P. Barr released a redacted version of the nearly 400-page report.

[Read about the report delivered to Congress and the public.]

Our journalists in Washington who covered the investigation and what came after are answering your questions. We have received more than 750 questions since the report came out and are updating this page with the responses. Submit your questions in the form below.

The Report’s Release

Yes, executive summaries written by Mr. Mueller’s team have been included in the report. The more than 400-page document is divided into two volumes, each of which begins with an introduction and executive summary of the contents. Several sentences in each summary have been redacted, in almost every case because of what Mr. Barr deemed was the potential “harm to an ongoing matter.”

— Nicholas Fandos

As journalists, we would say too much was redacted. We naturally want the public to know everything. But the redactions generally hewed closely to what the Justice Department predicted. Grand jury material was excised, as was material related to a few ongoing matters. We don’t know what we aren’t seeing, of course, but we didn’t see an obvious effort to black out material that was damaging or embarrassing to the president.

— Matt Apuzzo

Obstruction

Great question. Mr. Mueller made clear that Mr. Trump tried a number of tactics to influence or even sabotage the investigation. But this posed a dilemma because so much of what might be considered obstruction was tied up in Mr. Trump’s authority as president, such as firing the F.B.I. director. That executive authority did not give Mr. Trump a free pass, Mr. Mueller said, but it made the prosecutorial calculation different from a typical charging decision.

— Matt Apuzzo

Other Investigations

Mr. Mueller referred 14 cases to other prosecutors to investigate. We already know about the prosecutions of Michael Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, and Gregory B. Craig, who was the White House counsel under President Barack Obama and is charged with lying in a lobbying investigation that grew out of the special counsel inquiry.

The remaining 12 cases remain secret. Details of those cases were redacted but were not given much real estate in the report. We will probably see more charges trickle out over time, but Mr. Mueller said he only referred cases that were unrelated to the key issues in this investigation: Russian interference, the 2016 campaign and obstruction of justice.

Matt Apuzzo

Democrats who control the House are preparing to treat Mr. Mueller’s report as a de facto referral for Congress to issue a judgment about the extent, if any, the president and his associates should be held accountable. The House is already investigating whether the president obstructed justice or abused his power. For now, Mr. Mueller’s findings will be included in that investigation. But Democrats who have the power to impeach Mr. Trump will soon face a decision about whether there is political support to do so, and put the president on trial in the Republican-controlled Senate.

— Nicholas Fandos

WHAT COMES NEXT

We don’t know yet. In the near term, Democrat and Republican lawmakers are likely to have private access to a fuller version of the report that includes classified information and material that could harm an ongoing investigation — content that was blacked out in the public document.

But lawmakers will likely face a fight, and potentially a long one, to view secretive grand jury material that was collected by investigators and included in the report. It is generally illegal to release grand jury information, and to do so for Congress would almost certainly require court approval.

— Nicholas Fandos

A high-stakes, nationally televised hearing with Mr. Mueller appears increasingly likely. Two Democrats who chair House committees on Thursday invited the special counsel to testify, and Mr. Barr, who has a say over whether or not Mr. Mueller can accept, indicated that he would not stand in the way. How expansive Mr. Mueller is willing to be — or is allowed to be beyond the details of his report — remains to be seen.

— Nicholas Fandos

While it’s the Justice Department’s policy that presidents can’t be indicted, Mr. Mueller would almost surely dispute the notion that he is simply handing an impeachment road map to Congress. Mr. Mueller was tasked with investigating Russian interference and possible coordination with the Trump campaign. Many Russians and campaign officials have been charged.

Impeachment is a political issue, though. Having covered Mr. Mueller as F.B.I director, I am pretty confident he would say that he did his job and will leave the political questions to the politicians.

Matt Apuzzo


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