|Feds could release 'alternative' Mueller report soon|
"Primary processing" of compendium mentioned in Mueller aide's book should be complete next month, court filing says.
By JOSH GERSTEIN
12/02/2021 10:29 PM EST
An unpublished investigative compilation sometimes referred to as the "Alternative Mueller Report" has been located in Justice Department files and could be released soon, according to a letter filed in federal court Thursday.
A top deputy to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Andrew Weissmann, revealed in a book he published last year that the team he headed prepared a summary of all its work — apparently including details not contained in the final report made public in 2019.
"At least for posterity, I had all the [team] members ... write up an internal report memorializing everything we found, our conclusions, and the limitations on the investigation, and provided it to the other team leaders as well as had it maintained in our files," wrote Weissmann in "Where Law Ends: Inside the Mueller Investigation."
The reference prompted the New York Times to submit a Freedom of Information Act request for the document in January and to follow up in July with a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
Lawyers from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan told Judge Katherine Polk Failla in a letter Thursday that officials have figured out what document Weissmann was alluding to and have begun reviewing it for possible release.
"Since Plaintiff filed its complaint, Defendant has located and begun processing this record and intends to release all non-exempt portions to Plaintiff once processing is complete," Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Jude wrote. "Defendant estimates that primary processing of the record will be complete by the end of January 2022 at which time Defendant expects to send the record to several other DOJ components for consultation."
Jude did not provide an estimate of how long those consultations could take, but proposed updating the court by mid-February.
The pledge to process the so-called alternative Mueller report is no guarantee that what's released will contain significant new revelations. The Justice Department can use a variety of exemptions to the Freedom of Information Act to shield parts of the document from disclosure, including by deeming it attorney work-product or part of an internal deliberative process. Current DOJ leaders could waive those exemptions, but releasing other contents such as grand jury information could be more difficult due to legal restrictions.
The group Weissmann supervised in the special counsel's office was called "Team M" after its primary target — former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. The team more directly focused on the ties between Russia and former President Donald Trump was known as "Team R."
It's unclear whether investigative teams other than Weissmann's also prepared compilations that were not contained in Mueller's final report.
Feds could release 'alternative' Mueller report soon - POLITICO