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DOJ Releases Heavily Redacted Mueller Report on Manafort

The Justice Department released some of a previously unseen alternative version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on ties between former President Trump and Russia, Politico reports. The report prepared at the direction of Mueller deputy Andrew Weissmann and released under the Freedom of Information Act is heavily redacted. DOJ officials withheld large swaths of the document on grounds of ongoing investigations, privacy and protecting internal deliberations. The secrecy puts the Biden administration in the position of keeping from public view evidence of alleged wrongdoing by top Trump advisers. The report focuses on what was known within Mueller’s office as “Team M,” investigators and prosecutors focused on connections between Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort and businessmen and politicians friendly to Russia. The report details contacts between Manafort, business partner Rick Gates and pro-Russian business figures. It argues that Manafort expected to improve his financial situation as a result of his ties to a potential Trump administration. After the election, the men allegedly discussed by email the possibility of getting Trump to offer “a very minor ‘wink’ (or slight push)” that could launch a peace process in Ukraine with Manafort as a U.S. special representative. Manafort was involved in polling about a peace plan that “Manafort conceded constituted backdoor means for Russia to take over eastern Ukraine,” the report says.

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