Among the claims the Barr memo made, it said that “the Special Counsel also referred several matters to other offices for further action” (emphasis mine). Several normally means two or maybe three.
My “How to Read the Mueller Report” post already demonstrated that Mueller actually referred far more than that — maybe in the neighborhood of ten referrals, not listed individually. Meanwhile, the Stone filing Friday suggested he had “been charged only with a subset of his conduct under investigation.
That’s to be expected, though, given that Mueller has long said Stone might face new charges in conjunction with Andrew Miller’s testimony.
What’s more surprising is some of the language from a government motion objecting to the WaPo’s request to unseal the Paul Manafort breach determination filings.
The phrase “ongoing investigations” appears 10 times in the filing, just 3 of which are to precedent. Of particular interest are these two passages, which suggest “ongoing investigations,” plural, being conducted by “various attorneys in various offices.” It even uses the term “many” to refer to them.
The redactions at issue were undertaken and approved recently—from December 2018, through March 2019. No material changes have occurred in these past months. Although the Special Counsel has concluded his work, he has also referred a number of matters to other offices. The ongoing investigations that required redactions—many of which were already being conducted by other offices—remain ongoing. And the privacy interests that warranted redactions remain the same.
The Manafort case has been transferred from the Special Counsel’s Office to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the attorneys who were principally responsible for that case are no longer representing the government in this matter. The redactions are intended to protect ongoing investigations that are being handled by various attorneys in various offices. It is unknown how long some of these investigations may remain ongoing. And some of the privacy interests that are being protected may persist indefinitely. For the government to “promptly notify” (Mem. 18) the Court of any relevant development would impose a duty not just on the attorneys who have taken over responsibility for the Manafort case, but also on other attorneys throughout this and other offices and their successors. Given the breadth of the related investigations, it would be extremely burdensome, if not impossible, for the government to ensure such prompt reporting and to undertake regular reassessment in this case.
The filing suggests it might be appropriate to revisit these issues in six months — on October 15, 2019.
To be sure, there was one distinct investigation among the five topics covered in the breach determination. I compiled what we knew about it here. It pertained to some plan to save Trump as a candidate just before Manafort left in August 2016. Before getting the plea, Manafort had admitted one person was incriminated, but after he pled, he tried to blame someone else who had said he, “did not want to be involved in this at all.”
But that’s just one investigation. Not many. The other topics covered in Manafort’s breach — aside from his own — pertained to:
- The kickback system by which he got paid
- Konstantin Kilimnik, generally
- The sharing of polling data and ongoing discussions about a Ukraine peace deal (AKA sanctions relief)
- Manafort’s ongoing communications with the Trump Administration
Of those, the polling data discussion was the most redacted. And there’s no imaginable content in that material that would need redacted for privacy reasons.
Here I had thought all that material would show up unredacted in Thursday’s public release of the Mueller Report. But it sounds like the investigations formerly known as the Mueller probe may go on for another six months.