Nov 3, 2020 - Politics & Policy

DOJ releases new Mueller report details on Roger Stone and Julian Assange

Special Counsel Robert Mueller makes a statement about the Russia investigation on May 29, 2019
Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller at the Justice Department in Washington, D.C., in 2019. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Prosecutors investigated Trump associate Roger Stone, Julian Assange and WikiLeaks over the hacking of Democrats' servers and possible campaign finance violations but decided against charging them, newly unredacted Mueller report information shows.

Why it matters: The Department of Justice released an updated version of the report with fewer redactions Monday evening on the eve of the presidential election after a court ruled in favor of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by BuzzFeed News and the nonprofit Electronic Privacy Information Center last month.

What's new: One newly unredacted section states investigators "considered whether to charge WikiLeaks, Assange, or Stone as conspirators in the computer-intrusion conspiracy," given the website's "role in disseminating the hacked materials, and the existence of some evidence that Stone played a role in coordinating" the release of Clinton adviser John Podesta's materials.

  • However, the Russia investigation team, led by former Special Counsel Robert Mueller, decided they "did not have admissible evidence that was probably sufficient to obtain" a conspiracy conviction for any of them — noting that correspondence between WikiLeaks and officers of the GRU, Russia's main spy agency, was conducted "via encrypted chats."
  • "The Office also considered whether WikiLeaks and anyone connected to the Trump Campaign had liability in connection with WikiLeaks' months-long releases of stolen emails and other documents, possibly with the aim of influencing the 2016 presidential election," Mueller states.
"[S]ubstantial questions exist about whether the release of emails could be treated as an expenditure, whether the government could establish willfulness, and whether prosecution of this conduct would be subject to a First Amendment defense. In combination, those factors created sufficient doubt that the Office could obtain and sustain a conviction based on WikiLeaks's conduct."

The big picture: Stone was convicted following the Mueller investigation of obstruction of justice, lying to Congress and witness tampering. He was released from prison last July after President Trump commuted his 40-month sentence.

Read the new version of the Mueller Report, via DocumentCloud:

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