Federal prosecutors working for special counsel Robert Mueller on Saturday released a sentencing memo for former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
National security and intelligence journalist Marcy Wheeler explained that what was not included in the memo may reveal Mueller’s thinking on one big outstanding question for his investigation: Will he be able to release his report publicly?
When Trump appointed Matt Whitaker as acting Attorney General, there was concern that he received the position to kill the Mueller investigation, or at least prevent his final report from seeing the light of day.
Wheeler had argued that Mueller was essentially making his report public with each indictment.
However, in the latest court filing, Mueller deviated from his approach.
“Back in December, I noted that at each step of his investigation, Mueller has chosen to submit far more details into the public record than necessary, effectively issuing a report of his work along the way,” Wheeler explained.
She noted all that Mueller could have included in the Manafort sentencing memo, but chose not to reveal.
“Compare the decision to keep that stuff secret with what Mueller did in the George Papadopoulos, Mike Flynn, Michael Cohen, and draft Jerome Corsi pleas, and Roger Stone’s indictment. In each of the other accusations of lying, Mueller laid out juicy details that pointed to key details of the investigation,” she explained. “Here, in a case where they legitimately considered charging Manafort with more false statements charges, they chose to keep precisely the kind of stuff they had disclosed in other false statements accusations secret.”
“And by choosing to leave the record where it stands — by choosing not to describe what the evidence shows regarding that August 2 meeting in this sentencing memo — Mueller has deviated from the approach he has taken in every other instance (including this one, as it pertains to Manafort’s Ukrainian lobbying) where he had an opportunity to provide a speaking document,” Wheeler noted.
The absence of such juicy details led Wheeler to a fascinating conclusion.
“If Mueller believed he could not present a substantive final report now, he could have presented those details in unredacted form,” she noted. “That leads me to believe he’s certain he will be able to provide a report in some public form, presumably in the same kind of detail he has presented in all his other statements.”
Read her full analysis.