CNN is now suing to get key documents on 500 witnesses in the Mueller investigation
The FBI is facing a multi-pronged effort to publicize the underlying evidence in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, and on Wednesday, CNN launched a new front in the struggle. The network is now suing the FBI to obtain the records of the 500 witness interviews conducted by the bureau and Mueller's office in the course of an investigation that reached the highest echelons of President Donald Trump's orbit and even implicated the president himself.
CNN wants to obtain the 302s, which document what witnesses told the FBI in their interviews. Democrats in Congress and other groups are also pursuing the information, which could be used to support impeachment charges against Trump.
The memos document what key cooperators -- like former deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen and former White House counsel Don McGahn -- told Mueller's team, according to citations in the Mueller report.CNN went to the courts because the FBI hadn't fulfilled a records request from March for the memos, as required under the Freedom of Information Act, which provides the public access to government records with some exceptions, according to the complaint.
The new complaint was filed in DC District Court on Tuesday and will be handled by Judge Royce Lamberth.
It's not clear if the documents would bring anything genuinely new to the table. Mueller is likely to have described the evidence and testimony he thought was most relevant for Congress and the public to have in his report. And though it is partially redacted, the report goes into much more detail than was required by the special counsel regulations, suggesting that Mueller wasn't inclined to hold information back.
However, the 302s themselves could help flesh out the case and bring interesting details to light that may not have seemed important to Mueller but could matter to the public. Critics of Mueller and the report may find reasons in the documents to doubt Mueller's interpretation of events and testimony. They could also reveal claims or accusations that Mueller chose not to include for a variety of other reasons, for example, if they were provocative but not, in his view, corroborated by sufficient evidence to make public.