BuzzFeed News published the first installment today of what could eventually be billions of pages of documents related to the investigations by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team into the Trump administration, the Russian interference in the 2016 election, and the president’s attempts to obstruct the probe into his activities.
The documents are the result of five different Freedom of Information Act lawsuits filed by Buzzfeed to get access to “all the subpoenas and search warrants that Mueller’s team executed, as well as all the emails, memos, letters, talking points, legal opinions, and interview transcripts” involved in the two years worth of investigations.
While the Trump administration fought against the disclosure of the documents that the website was seeking, earlier this month, US District Court Judge Reggie Walton ruled that the information was in the public interest and should be released despite the Justice Department’s hyperbolic objections that it could take “centuries” to vet and produce them.
“It shouldn’t fall on the backs of the citizens to wait years to find out what the government is up to,” Judge Walton said.
Walton suggested that the Justice Department should ask Congress to appropriate additional funds to hire the staff needed to fulfill the document request.
Responding to Walton’s court order, the Justice Department released the first installment of material today: 500 pages that summarize FBI interviews with witnesses in the inquiry. Rather than the centuries they originally claimed it would take, the department is now estimating that they will release a new batch of documents monthly for at least the next eight years.
The documents in today’s release are the investigators’ “302 reports,” summaries of interviews with witnesses including former White House counsel Don McGahn, former attorney general Jeff Sessions, and Trump’s former fixer and lawyer Michael Cohen, and are seen as ” some of the most important and highly sought-after documents from Mueller’s investigation,” according to Buzzfeed.
“They reveal what key players in the campaign told FBI agents about Russia, Trump, his business dealings, and his attempts to impede the special counsel’s investigation,” the website reports.
While it will take journalists a considerable amount of time to pour through the newly available trove of materials to find new and interesting details of the investigation, you can become a citizen journalist by reading through them yourselves and publishing the most interesting excerpts to your social media accounts.
You can access the Justice Department’s initial release of documents fro the Mueller investigation right here.
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Original reporting by Jason Leopold at BuzzFeed News.