Fans of President Trump long have pointed out that FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller has failed so far to produce any evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign in 2016 and Russia, the apparent issue he was supposed to be investigating.
He’s come out with other unrelated charges against several people, also prompting observers to wonder exactly what instructions he was given when he was appointed by Rod Rosenstein, from the Department of Justice.
Now those details may become public.
Officials with Judicial Watch, who have been seeking those details, say they have been told the Justice Department is reviewing the material and more may be released.
It already is going to be turned over to a federal judge.
It was U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis who recently demanded access to the full memorandum, a stunning order from the judge who openly questioned whether Mueller had the authority to do as he wants.
Judicial Watch has been fighting for public access to those government secrets through Freedom of Information Act cases, and the organization said Tuesday the DOJ “disclosed that it may soon provide the organization with additional, previously withheld material from the heavily redacted August 2 memorandum in which Rod Rosenstein granted broad authority to special counsel Robert Mueller, three months after Mueller’s appointment.”
“In a May 4 response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch, the agency revealed that it is now ‘processing the August 2 memo to determine if it can release additional portions that have not already been filed publicly.’ The Justice Department had previously refused to acknowledge that any such ‘scope’ documents exist,” Judicial Watch reported.
The Washington watchdog’s lawsuit was filed last fall when the DOJ failed to provide access to “a copy of the budget prepared and submitted by Robert S. Mueller III or his staff in his capacity as appointed…” and “a copy of all guidance memoranda and communications by which the Justice Management Division will review the special counsel’s office’s ‘Statement of Expenditures’ prior to or for the purpose of making each public.”
It also requested copies of documents “scoping, regulating, or governing the special counsel’s office appointed under the leadership of Mueller.”
It was “a few hours after Judge Ellis’s explosive hearing, the Justice Department officially admitted to Judicial Watch that a scope memo existed,” Judicial Watch reported.
The government stated, “As you are no doubt aware, in conjunction with its opposition to Paul Manafort’s motion to dismiss his criminal indictment, the United States filed on that criminal docket a redacted version of an August 2, 2017, Memorandum regarding ‘The scope of Investigation and Definition of Authority’ conferred on the special counsel…. in light of the special counsel’s public acknowledgement of the August 2 memo, the government has been assessing whether the acknowledgment alters its prior response to Request No. 3 [for documents describing the scope of Mueller’s authority] of the FOIA request at issue in this suit, and processing the August 2 memorandum to determine if it can release additional portions that have not already been filed publicly, but needs some additional time to complete these tasks.”
Tom Fitton, the chief of Judicial Watch, said, “We are pleased, especially after Judge Ellis’s hearing, that our lawsuit is causing the Justice Department to rethink its cover-up of the ‘scope memo’ for Mueller.
“Judicial Watch has never before seen this level of secrecy and cover-up surrounding the operation of a special or independent counsel.”
The original instructions reportedly were to investigation claims of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia and matters arising from that.
Judicial Watch said it continues pursuing additional FOIA lawsuits related to the surveillance, unmasking, and illegal leaking targeting President Trump and his associates during the FBI’s investigation of potential Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election.