Some of the redactions in the public version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report slated for release Thursday will be aimed at complying with the gag order in Roger Stone’s case, the Justice Department said in a court filing Wednesday. However, “a limited number of Members of Congress and their staff” will be able to view a version of the report without the Stone gag order-related redactions, as well as certain other redactions, the filing said.
Members will only be able to view the report with fewer redactions, and if they want to obtain their own copy of that version, the Justice Department will seek guidance from the court on what the request would mean with regards to the judge’s gag order. That order bans the parties from releasing through public statements and in the media information in the case that would potentially prejudice its future jury.
What exactly will be redacted in the report and why is already a topic of major scrutiny as the world waits for its release. House Democrats have already demanded the full, unredacted report and its underlying materials, and may issue a subpoena seeking it as soon as Friday.
Barr has said the public version will include redactions for grand jury materials, classified information, details affecting ongoing investigation, and information that could damage the reputations of “peripheral” third party individuals.
Stone — who faces charges that include making false statements and witness tampering — has also sought the full report. The government’s filing Thursday was not a response to that, but rather a notice to the judge assuring her that the report’s public release Thursday won’t violate her gag order.
The Justice Department did not say specifically when it plans to let that limited pool of people review the report with fewer redactions. However, it said the Department “intends to secure this version of the report in an appropriate setting that will be accessible to a limited number of Members of Congress and their staff.”
It was unclear from the filing whether its description of “a limited number of Members of Congress and their staff” was a reference to the select group of lawmakers who are expected to received further information about the counterintelligence aspects of Mueller’s investigation.
By law, the executive branch is mandated to keep Congress’ intelligence committees appraised of its intelligence operations. Often, the group of lawmakers included on those briefings are the chairs and ranking members of each chambers’ intelligence committees, and the leaders of both parties in each chamber.