The Five Versions of the Mueller Report

As preparation for wading into the argument about why DOJ hasn’t indicted Trump on the obstruction charges laid out in the Mueller Report, I wanted to post links to the five different versions of the Report and comment on what they might tell us of the fate of Mueller’s work under Billy Barr. The five versions (which are all available at this link) are:

March 22, 2019

This is the version of the report released in April 2019. It had four kinds of redactions:

  • Harm to Ongoing Matter (basically, on-going investigations)
  • Personal Privacy
  • Investigative Technique
  • Grand Jury

June 3, 2019

Almost immediately after the release, a bunch of outlets FOIAed the report, including Jason Leopold. This is the version released in response to those FOIAs.

Volume I

Volume II

The release is identical to the one released months earlier (in that no new information was unsealed). But it used FOIA exemptions to explain redactions instead of the four terms used on original release.

This is the description of those exemptions:

Because the release effectively created a category to deal with everything related to the Roger Stone trial (about which the Concord Trolls made a big stink), it provided a way to identify which of the referrals at the end pertained to Stone.

Referrals 4 and 14 both pertained to the Stone trial. Because the referrals are alphabetical, those referrals might pertain to Jerome Corsi (who obviously lied to Mueller) and Stone himself.

June 19, 2020

After the Stone trial, Leopold got another copy of the report with matters revealed during the Stone trial unsealed.

Volume I

Volume II


While there was a bunch of newly unsealed stuff in the body of the report, the two Stone-related referrals remained redacted, albeit with one fewer exemption (b7B, a disclosure that might prevent someone from getting a fair trial, was gone).

September 18, 2020

While not a full new report, in September 2020, DOJ released a spreadsheet listing all the redactions. They ended up withdrawing the redactions for a number of things, especially pertaining to the troll farm prosecution. Among other things, the newly unsealed information revealed that what was described as an investigation into a “Foreign campaign contribution” (the Egyptian bank bribe to Trump) and investigations into Paul Manafort’s firms had both been closed. The release is useful because it seems to date the closure of those investigations to sometime between June and September of the election year.

November 2, 2020

Literally on the eve of the election, DOJ released eight new pages, as well as a full report incorporating those eight pages and the withdrawn exemptions described in September. The newly unsealed information addressed the charging decisions surrounding the hacking charges.

The single most important newly disclosed detail is a footnote that reveals the “factual uncertainties” around Stone’s knowledge that the GRU continued to hack Hillary when he purportedly coordinated the release of the Podesta emails had been referred to the DC US Attorney’s Office for further investigation. That is, the investigation into Stone’s potential coordination with Russia was not done at the time Mueller shut down the investigation, a disclosure that has yet to be reported by any major outlets.

The referrals section in the full report is somewhat mystifying. As noted, the Egyptian bribe investigation and the Paul Manafort referrals are unredacted, reflecting that those investigations had been closed. The unsealed information on the Manafort firms explains an earlier redaction convention; earlier, these entries lacked some of the exemptions all other referrals had. That’s probably for two reasons: first, those Manafort companies aren’t mentioned elsewhere in the report (and so didn’t have a b(7)(C)-4 exemption)) and were not biological persons (and so didn’t have the privacy exemption).

Here are the last two pages of the referrals for all four versions, side by side (the rest are at this link).

The two Stone-related entries, like all the other redacted ones, remained exempted for an ongoing investigation (b7(A)).

But what doesn’t appear in that list, even though you’d think (and I long thought) it would, is something describing the George Nader child exploitation and foreign influence peddling referrals, both of which had been revealed in 2019 and the former of which is undoubtedly a Mueller referral. The fact that DOJ was unsealing closed investigations but has not unsealed an entry for the Nader referral that undoubtedly was opened after a Mueller-related FBI Agent found the CSAM on Nader’s phone suggests that these referrals aren’t necessarily everything that arose out of the Mueller investigation.

The distinction may be explained by a footnote that got unsealed with the last release, explaining why Greg Craig was treated differently than Tony Podesta and Mercury, all foreign influence peddling investigations that arose out of the Manafort team. “Greg Craig and FTI Consulting were treated as outright referrals (and therefore listed in Part B, infra) because evidence about their conduct was uncovered in the course of our authorized investigations.”

There is, however, a single entry that could be a Tom Barrack referral, item 1, which is another investigation that arose out of the Mueller investigation, one that was charged once Barr got out of the way of it.

We might learn more the next time Leopold liberates an entirely new copy.

Let me be clear: I don’t think we’ll see much of these. The most recent release was 15 months ago, the statutes of limitation on any referrals will be tolling in the same time frame as obstruction charges would be. More recent 302 releases suggests there are few areas where investigation remains ongoing.

Given the way, though, that Trump’s first impeachment was largely a continuation of Paul Manafort’s Ukraine dalliances, that parts of January 6 are just a continuation of things (like Stone’s Stop the Steal and some of the people Mike Flynn worked with) that go back to 2016, and Trump’s tools of obstruction (most notably pardon dangles) remains the same, any current investigation may pull threads from past ones.

There’s a good deal more complexity remaining in the detritus of the Mueller investigation than people are allowing for.

February 11, 2022

Yesterday, DOJ released four pages showing the declination on misdemeanor CFAA charges for Don Jr, even though they could have proven it.

They also show that Mueller declined prosecution for JD Gordon for being an Agent of Russia.

Note: this post has been updated with the most recent release.


43 replies
  1. Vox Clamantis says:

    Another way of looking at it is how much of Mueller’s work (sealed cases/handoff investigations) was unmolested by Barr (still is). What are likely the most deadly indictments/investigations to the bad guys remain, remarkably, untouched and unknown. If Trump would have known who was indicted under seal for what crimes, he would have pardoned them. If anyone would have leaked anything about the sealed cases, a Federal Judge would have someone’s ass in handcuffs. But- nothing, crickets. It’s like all those sealed, redacted cases and handoff investigations just got memory-holed. Almost, as if the White Hats were protecting them until Trump couldn’t pardon anybody or ratfuck the cases. Barr also never fired Wray, which is the second most important thing he would do if he was trying to help Trump. If Barr was a Black Hat, he failed miserably at the two things Trump and the traitors hired/forced him to do. PS. Barr knows what the unredacted report says in Appendix D, but he never said anything about it, coz it would be illegal to disclose sealed grand jury indictments.

    • emptywheel says:

      It is the height of fantasy to suggest that Barr didn’t damage cases. There are already signs he damaged the Barrack case.

      Please don’t entertain that thought.

      • AndTheSlithyToves says:

        “…you parachuted in from nowhere”
        I’ll take Russo-American Troll Farms for $400, Alex.

      • Badger Robert says:

        The trolls seem to be out trying to purloin a white hat for each of their clients. What’s coming down that makes them so edgy? Refer to peterr’s question, why are they lying now?

      • Dennis says:

        And I was already just hanging on by a thread.

        [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the same username each time you comment so that community members get to know you. This is your fourth username though you’ve used variations of the same including DBL and dbl. Pick one and stick with it. Thanks. /~Rayne]

      • Riktol says:

        Does the AG have the authority to fire the FBI director? Wouldn’t a Presidential appointment need to be fired by the President?

    • Atomic Shadow says:

      I’d like to point out that there is no way to put anyone’s ass in handcuffs. For that you need a set of asscuffs.


  2. Vox Clamantis says:

    I’d humbly ask you to entertain the thought that Barr was a White Hat the whole time. From when he wrote the “Trump was right to fire Comey” WaPo op ed 05/17, till when he wrote the secret “Trump is omnipotent” memo to Rosenstein in 05/18 all the way thru till he killed the Big Lie in 12/20. My hypothesis is that he took the AG job to PROTECT all of Mueller’s work, PROTECT the FBI so it could keep investigating/disrupting and ensure Trump couldn’t pardon any of the traitors. Barr schemed to get the job so he could protect us from a corrupt POTUS and GOP majority under control of the Petromafia.

    • bmaz says:

      Humbly, or otherwise, that is complete horse manure. WTF is the agenda you are trying to serve here? Stop.

    • emptywheel says:

      Yeah seriously. I try to prevent bmaz from bouncing people quickly but I might make an exception this time.

    • MB says:

      Barr “killed” The Big Lie in 12/20 ??! It seems to be quite alive and self-sustaining, even at this very moment. If only.

      Vox clamantis, in solitudinem…

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      You should speak to Bill Barr about humility, though I doubt he can find his. His reputation as George H.W. Bush’s Obstructer General preceded his second go-round as AG. He is not a leopard that changes his spots, as his many speeches to the FedSoc and other right wing causes demonstrated.

      • Cheney's Toy says:

        His devotion to the unitary (Imperial?) executive has been relentless. Funny how “devotion” is so appropriate for such a devout Catholic.

        • Cheney's Toy says:

          Yes, I grew up in the liberation theology, union organizing side of that church. Have actually read “Disarmed and Dangerous”…Until recent years, though, I didn’t fully appreciate the danger of the right-wing of the church. Now that we can follow the path from Franco to ACB, it’s become a lot more obvious how truly dangerous they are.

    • Desider says:

      “I got 2 words to say to you, Rocky: im-possible.”
      Or John Durham, depending.
      Durham is “protecting” us, got it.

    • Peterr says:

      In the same way, Barr also was protecting Lawrence Walsh in the Iran-Contra investigation, right?

      *face palm*

      I humbly ask that you refrain from anything like this without a shred of evidence to support it, and a ton of evidence in opposition to it — like Barr’s presser after Mueller submitted his report, saying it exonerated Trump.

  3. JohnForde says:

    Vox Clamantis, You skipped the example of Barr defusing the Mueller explosion. That could have easily been fatal to TDFG’s presidency. Especially if Barr was wearing a “White hat”.

  4. Misteranderson says:

    Stupid question. Is the Egyptian bank investigation permanently closed or is there a possibility it could be reopened?

  5. sleutherone says:

    Thanks for the information. I have a question if I may. Is it possible for DOJ to use the information and evidence gathered about Manafort’s and Stone’s crimes (for which they were pardoned) for future cases? Say to show a pattern of actions or to show they knew what they were doing was wrong? Or are they precluded from that evidence due to the pardon?

    • emptywheel says:

      The Stone and Manafort pardons are actually just for the stuff they were prosecuted for. Not for the core of their cooperation with Russia.

  6. Al Ostello says:

    FYI: On the Mueller Report…A five year statute of limitations (for one of the ten felony obstruction of justice crimes by Trump) is expiring soon — on Feb 14th.

    • emptywheel says:


      You must have missed this post. Which points out that the shit you’re reading on Twitter lacks basic understanding of this complexity.

      • Eureka says:

        Life is getting tough for real readers, Marcy.

        There’s another real doozy a couple pages back which repeats this SOL saw *and compounds it* with a claim that Trump was “referred for prosecution” (by Mueller). ////smack (forehead, keyboard, books closed).

  7. Stew says:

    Wanted to ask Bmaz about his experience with Ralph Nader
    But thread is closed
    Richard Alpert left a similar impression on me
    Marcy is so good at deconstruction
    It is a shame only a small percentage of the public is capable of tracking her logic
    No fault of their own, it’s the product of a concerted effort to dumb down the proletariat
    Michael Hudson does the same thing as Marcy from a forensic economics perspective.
    The mythopoetic writers had more of an inkling of this than ever we will.
    Tolkien, Lewis and Williams
    Williams seminal work
    The Place of the Lion

    His lesser novel
    The Greater Trumps

    Phantastique stuff

  8. Mutaman says:

    This is a very complicated case, Maude. You know, a lotta ins, a lotta outs, a lotta what-have-yous. And, uh, a lotta strands to keep in my head, man. Lotta strands in old Duder’s head.

  9. Zinsky says:

    Fascinating! Thanks again, Marcy. The Julian Assange-Roger Stone connection remains very intriguing, as well as who was in contact with the actual GRU hackers, including who moved, transmitted or portaled the stolen emails and other files.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      The moral of so many of these stories seems increasingly to be this: Roger Stone, get ready for your close-up.

Comments are closed.