The Last Trickle of the Mueller 302s before the Biden Storm

Yesterday, DOJ turned over 46 pages of Mueller 302s to Jason Leopold, what it claims is the final installment in response to the BuzzFeed FOIA.It is no such thing. This list, which has almost all of the released 302s (it doesn’t have the 11th and 12th releases entirely indexed), shows that DOJ has entirely withheld a great many 302s.

Among those withheld are every single Mueller 302 for Mike Flynn. It may be that, by holding John Durham on, Bill Barr created an excuse to withhold the 302s until after Emmet Sullivan affirms Flynn’s pardon.

There is a bit of intrigue in this last bit.

Unless I’m missing it, there’s no 302 identified from Trump Homeland Security Czar Tom Bossert. That’s particularly interesting because this September 2017 Mike Flynn warrant strongly suggests the Mueller team already had Bossert’s Transition emails, which would mean he retained his emails and turned them over. For all the wailing about this warrant (which Mueller used to obtain the GSA devices and emails of people like Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner), Bossert pretty clearly had already cooperated by this point.

Remember: KT McFarland had Bossert go find out from Lisa Monaco what the Obama Administration knew about Russia’s response to Obama’s sanctions before Flynn returned Sergey Kislyak’s phone call and undermined the sanctions.

This new batch doesn’t have a Bossert 302. But it does have at least 3 302s pertaining to an FBI detailee to the National Security Council, reflecting two interviews on October 10, 2017 (one plus this missing page, two), and Bill Priestap’s notes from talking to what is probably the same detailee (and Ezra Cohen-Watnick), and possibly a fourth 302 reflecting someone turning over 3 documents.

These seem to pertain to what happened to the MemCon of Trump’s meeting with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov right after firing Jim Comey, at which Trump shared highly classified information and boasted about firing Comey. It appears the detailee was grilled about what he thought of Comey’s firing. Then, after the NYT published news that Trump shared classified information, he was grilled again by John Daley and Bossert without his own boss being present.

When [redacted] learned that he had been summoned, he suspected that it might have to do with a news article published earlier that day, which reported that President TRUMP  had revealed highly sensitive information during the meeting with LAVROV.

At the meeting, Bossert appears to have claimed that he would not have approved certain treatment of the MemCon, only to have the detailee remind him that, yes, both Bossert and Daly had signed off on however the MemCon had been treated. The detailee seemed to suggest that those who had seen the MemCon had been fired from NSC.

It seems possible that deep inside the Mueller investigation was a leak investigation into how the MemCon of that meeting got liberated.

45 replies
  1. Peterr says:

    Leakers in DC do so from a variety of motives. Sometimes, a leak is part of an internal policy battle, and the leaker hopes that by putting something out in public, they can sway the policy discussion in their preferred direction. Sometimes a leak is a strategic decision approved by supervisors, to put a trial balloon into the public discussion or to announce something without having the announcement be official. Sometimes, a leak is part of a personal private tussle, and the leaker wants to put their opponent in a bad light publicly either to win their battle for dominance or out of a desire for revenge at having lost the internal battle. And sometimes, the leaker is so appalled at inappropriate action (ethically dubious or completely illegal) that they leak information as a way to bring it to the attention of those who can do something about it without endangering their own position.

    Similarly, a leak investigation might have mixed motives. Some, clearly, are driven by a desire to eliminate leakers and dissuade potential future leaks, or out of a desire for revenge against the person who put ugly/illegal behavior out in public. Some are performative investigations (or are merely announcements of investigations rather than actual investigations), to show faux outrage at leaks that may have been authorized behind the scenes.

    In this case, though, I wonder if the investigation is born out of a different motive. The leak itself is evidence that there is something going on behind the scenes with huge national security implications, potentially related to Muller’s remit to investigate investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. If I’m Mueller and this information about the Lavrov meeting comes out in public, it says to me that there is someone highly placed who may have critical information related to my investigation, and I want to talk to that person to find out if there is more.

    That is, this investigation may not have been aimed at uncovering a leak of sensitive information to punish that person, but rather to see if the leaker had more information or could lead Mueller to more information in the hands of others that was basic to his broader investigation.

    • Chris.EL says:

      … remember Kellyanne? She sure jumped ship early didn’t she?

      Wonder what Kellyanne could tell us!

      Does any part of the pardon for Lt. General Flynn address Flynn’s Russian Twitter fake accounts meddling in the 2016 election?

      May be the greatest “sin” against the US; well, kidnapping too.

  2. Rugger9 says:

    However, with the Flynn pardon DJT laid down the marker that all Mueller topics are unpunishable. This would necessarily mean the other Mueller actors will need pardons. However, it would also mean that these pardoned individuals can all be re-interviewed by the Biden DOJ, and they should be so we know how deep the rot is in DJT’s administration.

    Tom Sullivan over at Digby reminds us why this pushback must happen, because the MAGA cult will otherwise feel empowered to do more stuff. When the GOP was let off the hook after Reagan (Iran hostage footsie and Iran-Contra), GHWB (Iran Contra, starring AG Barr), and W (many many scandals) they pushed on to find the new “line in the sand” to step over again.

  3. Rugger9 says:

    Is AG Barr’s appointment of Durham as Special Counsel actually legal, since Durham is in the government? We know it was done to stop Biden from stopping the snipe hunt, but it seems to leave open the ability of Biden to remove Durham because of the illegal appointment.

    • ThomasH says:

      Or; can Durham be redirected by Biden’s AG to investigate the origins of the “Investigate the Investigators Investigation?”

    • Fraud Guy says:

      EW posted an update in the other thread that it is a different section of the Special Counsel statute that would cover Durham’s appointment; IIRC, .300 instead of .400, or something like that.

      • Rugger9 says:

        Perhaps, but unlawful appointments of cronies is a DJT trademark, look at DHS. It’s an open question whether Chad Wolf could be liable for acting as he has done without the authority. Wouldn’t that mean Wolf is personally on the hook without saying he was acting as the government agent?

  4. dude says:

    A little off thread, but I am reading that a lawsuit was filed by CREW to prevent the White House from destroying official records. My question is about Presidential pardons. Can White House personnel be pardoned for destroying White House records? I assume the answer is ‘yes’, but I didn’t realize how devastating that could be until I saw this. And could this ‘destruction’ apply to any records of any agency under the control of the Executive Branch?

    • Rugger9 says:

      Short answer: yes DJT can and I have no doubt that if DJT thinks about it he will pardon them. However since many of these are “the help” DJT may not interrupt his golf round to sign off on those pardons.

      • Chris.EL says:

        At some point — perhaps when there are fewer Republicans in the Senate — could Trump be impeached? If successfully impeached, rendered ineligible to run for public office in the USA?

        Asking for a friend.

        • Rugger9 says:

          Yes, DJT can be impeached again but conviction in the Senate requires 2/3 to agree. It’s not likely even if Ds take control, because too many GOP Senators are tied up with DJT’s schemes.

          Conviction would also have the benefit of barring DJT from any further office in federal government.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          One of the penalties on conviction is that it can be a bar to holding further office with the USG.

        • BobCon says:

          Lyndon LaRouche ran for Congress and President from the federal pen. And even if Trump entered into an agreement to not run for office, there is no way to stop him from running a de facto campaign for the purpose of ego gratification and chaos.

          There is no way he is seriously thinking about being president in 2025 when he is much worse off physically. It is all about being a sideshow barker for as long as he can manage it.

        • P J Evans says:

          Remember that he thinks he’s in excellent health, the best, and can live for 200 years.

          Or so he claims.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          LaRouche was not impeached or convicted. If Trump were, the prohibition on holding USG office would be imposed on him, regardless of whether he agreed to it.

          But there is not the slightest chance that Nancy Pelosi would impeach anyone, or that a finely balanced Senate would convict by a 2/3 majority.

          For Trump, it’s always all about the grift. He’s making $50-60 million a week on it now (legally redirecting funds paid into his Super PAC by his riled up base for personal use). If he keeps this up, he might someday become a real billionaire.

        • BobCon says:

          LaRouche was convicted by the feds and serving out his term during runs for Congress (I think it was the Virginia district where he was locked up) and president. During other campaigns before and after he was free.

          But even if Trump was somehow blocked from running for office, there is nothing to stop him from campaigning to reverse that, just as there is nothing to stop him from organizing rallies to become God Emperor of the Universe.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          So, LaRouche was not impeached in the House and convicted in the Senate. But agreed, Trump will do anything that keeps him in the limelight, as long as it’s lucrative enough.

          My concern about Trump will lessen when he’s out of office. His base, however, remains in his pocket and he in theirs. That’s bad for government across the board. He’ll stay there through any prosecution, conviction, and imprisonment, per your LaRouche example.

          The best solution is for Democrats to enact policies that help real people now, and to keep doing that.

        • rg says:

          That point has been raised several times now. What I’m questioning is whether one can get to a conviction when the
          officeholder is already gone. As if there were some issue of standing to bring charges. Imagine if the defendant were already dead and some zealous congresspersons wanted to add insult to injury by forever blackening the deceased’s reputation. Could such a tribunal go forward?

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Keep in the mind the difference between the process of impeachment and conviction – and punishment. Removal from office is one punishment; another is a ban on holding further office under the USG.

          Bad hypothetical. Trial assumes someone is alive and capable of assisting in their defense.

          Congress is also not the courts and operates under different rules. It can impeach an officer or former officer of the USG for whatever it deems a high crime or misdemeanor. In Trump’s case and that of many of his cronies, that’s not a close call.

        • graham firchlis says:

          The impeachment of an officer after they are out of office isn’t a settled matter, and experts disagree:

          Of interest, IIRC Senate rules treat removal from office (by 2/3 vote) as a matter distinct from disqualification, which requires a separate charge and a second vote but only a simple majority to pass.

          Conceivably, the House could impeach a former office holder for the purpose of disqualification alone, and the Senate could impose the penalty by simple majority of those voting.

          None of this is cut and dried, however, and the potential for rank political vengeance should be IMHO carefully weighed before proceeding.

  5. BobCon says:

    Does an appeal to an agency that a FOIA response is incomplete get a faster response than filing a new FOIA request?

    I’m curious what happens if Leopold takes another crack at this when Barr is out of the way.

  6. Bay State Librul says:

    Off topic but I came across… a new life…

    “JAMES B. COMEY—Beginning in January 2021, former director of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation James B. Comey will be appointed senior research scholar at Columbia Law School and distinguished fellow of the Reuben Mark Initiative for Organizational Character and Leadership. He will teach a new seminar entitled “Lawyers and Leaders” and engage with students and faculty. A longtime federal prosecutor who led the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and served as deputy attorney general of the United States prior to becoming FBI director, Comey’s experience represents a broadening of the Mark Initiative’s focus to include leadership of major public institutions, complementing existing offerings relating to corporations and law firms. In addition to his government work, Comey led the in-house legal teams at major corporations, including Lockheed Martin Corp. and Bridgewater Associates, and previously held a senior research appointment with Columbia Law School’s National Security Law Program. His second book, Saving Justice: Truth, Transparency, and Trust, has a publication release date of January 12, 2021”

  7. pseudonymous in nc says:

    There’s never been an [identified] 302 released for Michael Ledeen, has there? The Mueller report shows that the FBI had access to his phone records, but never refers to any interviews. (Nor with Barbara, either.) But it’s odd that the FBI, having spent a lot of time with KT McFarland, wouldn’t have interviewed the other person on the line with Flynn before the Kislyak call. Or at least tried to interview.

  8. J R in WV says:

    I am more than a little astonished at Comey’s instant rehabilitation. He broke DoJ / FBI policy by interfering in the 2016 election, didn’t he?

    Singlehandedly installed a fascist criminal government in America~!?!~

    Now he’s going to “research” law abiding leadership, and teach it to students???

    Unpossible — as in It Can’t Be Done!

    • Hika says:

      “Singlehandedly” – nonsense.
      Given the timing and nature of Comey’s announcement about Wiener’s laptop, it is almost a certainty that he felt the alternative of not saying anything about it would have been worse. How could it have been worse? If the same information had been leaked by ‘disgruntled’ FBI agents with the added spice of “the FBI Director was suppressing this to help Clinton.”
      I’m sure he saw that announcement as a lesser of two evils.
      Has there ever been a full accounting of the relationships between the FBI’s NY field office and Guiliani’s public statements before the 2016 election?
      That bullet about Abedin’s emails on Wiener’s laptop was going to be fired just before the 2016 election regardless of Comey. Why? Because that’s what Republican ratf’ers do. The only way that was not going to be a ‘scandal’ was if Abedin had never used Wiener’s laptop for accessing work emails. There were layers of stupidity involved in the whole shemozzle.

  9. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I realize Joe Biden has to listen to a lot of folks about who should populate his Cabinet. A lot of them are from the Democrats’ establishment wing, which very much wants to corral all the top posts and keep policy in its cold little hands.

    I desperately hope he resists the temptation. If he doesn’t, his administration is likely to become a center-right Obama II, and an invitation to the next GOP demagogue to claim that only they can improve the lot of the people the establishment uses for a litter box.

    Consider Gina Raimondo, for example. She has all the right credentials and is currently Rhode Island’s governor. But she is only a small improvement over Rahm Emanuel. Adding her to his Cabinet would help investment bankers, but not too many other people.

    • P J Evans says:

      There’s pressure from the left, the NAACP (and another big group), and from the Congressional Black Caucus, all of whom want someone black in one of the two big slots (State and DOJ).

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