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The Most Interesting Mueller Redactions

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 18: A page from the recently released Mueller Report is shown April 18, 2019 in Washington, DC. According to a person interviewed by Mueller's team, in response to news from then Attorney General Jeff Sessions that Robert Mueller had been appointed as a Special Counsel to investigate allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, U.S. President Donald Trump said "Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency." (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
By George Khoury, Esq. on April 23, 2019 11:00 AM

While quite a bit has been said about what’s contained in the Mueller report, one of the more interesting areas of reporting involves what was redacted out of the Mueller report.

In several places, the redactions seem to raise several questions, such as when the report describes presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s call to concede. The very next sentence is redacted, along with the next few lines, until the report states: “wrote to Dmitriev, "Putin has won."” And, as you might expect, there are quite a few more redactions that are bound to make you go “hmm.”

Substantial Redactions

The list of significant redactions is rather long, and social media seems to have truly reveled in the opportunity to poke fun and point out some of the most interesting redactions, either from a political or comedic perspective (and sometimes both). For example, when Mueller is about to explain why "the First Amendment could pose constraints on a prosecution," the entire section, save for that first sentence, was redacted.; Or, just when you think you're about to learn what President Trump told Michael Cohen about the hacked DNC emails, a heavy handed redaction shuts down those hopes (though might leave you thinking the worst).

Notably, the numbers are in and apparently 7% of the report has been redacted. As the breakdown explains, there is at least one redaction on each page of 40% of the entire report, or 179 pages. The numbers analysis also broke down how often each type of redaction was used and found that 45% of the time it was related to “Harm to ongoing matter”, 38% of the time it was related to “Grand Jury”, 10% were related to confidential “Investigative Techniques,” and only 7% were for “Personal Privacy.”

Further, it was noted that the most redactions were found in the sections relating to the “Russian Active Measures Social Media campaign” and the “Russian Hacking and Dumping Operations.” The next section with the most redactions was the one on “Russian Government Links to and Contacts With the Trump Campaign.”

Select Politicians See More

One fact that may or may not provide some comfort to the American people is that some select lawmakers have access to a less-redacted version of the report. According to one Republican lawmaker who viewed the less-redacted report, nothing changed in his eyes. However, it is noteworthy that this is a highly partisan issue, and the Democratic lawmakers who were selected to view the report have objected to the limited terms of their access to the less-redacted report.

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