Special Counsel Robert Mueller is expected to soon issue findings of his investigation of alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election.
So far, a number of Russians and Russian companies have been indicted and several Americans have pleaded guilty to a variety of process charges over the nearly two years Mueller has been at work.
But he’s released no evidence of collusion.
Now, a privacy advocate is requesting documents from the Justice Department related to the investigation.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the DOJ’s Office of Information Policy asking for “documents, in the possession of the agency, concerning the investigation by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller into Russian interference in the 2016 United States presidential election.”
Demanded are “all ‘report[s]’ and ‘closing documentation’ … whether or not such records were actually provided to the attorney general or acting attorney general.”
Also on the list are “all drafts, outlines, exhibits, and supporting materials associated with any actual or planned ‘report’ or ‘closing documentation.”
The Mueller investigation was triggered by the actions of the Obama administration and Democrats, including then-Democratic nominee for president Hillary Clinton. A key trigger was a “dossier” of unsubstantiated claims about Trump that was used to obtain permission to spy on a Trump campaign volunteer.
The opposition research was compiled by a former British spy, with his own Russian connections, on the payroll of a company funded by the Clinton campaign.
The extended list of documentation demanded by EPIC includes records prepared for Congress and “all referrals by the special counsel, attorney general, or acting attorney general for ‘administrative remedies, civil sanctions or other governmental action outside the criminal justice system.””
Also, EPIC asks for reports given to members of Congress.
EPIC explains, “In 2016, the Russian government carried out a multi-pronged attack on the U.S. presidential election to destabilize U.S. democratic institutions and aid the candidacy of Donald J. Trump.”
It cited the 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment that claimed, “We assess with high confidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election, the consistent goals of which were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency.”
The report claimed the Russians had a “clear preference for President-elect Trump.”
The strategy, EPIC said, included the appropriation of data from the Democratic National Committee and its officials, and the use of “Guccifer 2.0 persona, DCLeaks.com, WikiLeaks” and others to “release data obtained from those cyber operations.”
Trump campaign officials also “engaged in multiple meetings with Russian intermediaries offering to provide ‘dirt’ on Hillary Clinton,” EPIC stated.
Russia then used propaganda, spending “millions of dollars and employ[ing] hundreds of people to flood Facebook and Twitter with fraudulent users, posts, articles, groups, and targeted advertisements,” the letter states.
And it was now-fired FBI chief James Comey who announced in 2017 an investigation into Russian interference.
Under federal law, the special counsel must provide a confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions, and other details, such as notifications to Congress or whether he is pursuing action outside the criminal justice system.
“EPIC, through this FOIA request, seeks all of the above categories of records and supporting materials generated by or related to Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation,” the letter said.
EPIC said it already has demanded President Trump’s tax records and “to correct numerous misstatements of fact concerning the president’s financial ties to Russia.”
“The urgency to inform the public about these government activities is clear from the voluminous press coverage of, and immense public interest in, Mr. Mueller’s investigation and findings,” the letter said.
EPIC said its request was marked “urgent.”