Mueller hands judge full memo detailing Russia probe scope

However, the memo remains classified and not public, leaving its details hidden.

By: Kyle Cheney

Special counsel Robert Mueller has provided a federal judge with an unredacted version of the Justice Department memo laying out the scope of his investigation and the potential crimes he's authorized to pursue.

However, the memo — long sought after by President Donald Trump's allies on Capitol Hill, who regularly accuse Mueller of overstepping his bounds — remains classified and not public, leaving its details hidden.

The document was filed as an "unredacted memorandum" under seal with the U.S. District Court's Eastern District of Virginia, where Mueller is expected to try former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on bank fraud charges.

Mueller's decision to share the classified document comes two weeks after the judge, T.S. Ellis, demanded to see the full scope memo, authored by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Earlier this month, Ellis called for the document during a hearing on Manafort's attempt to toss out some of the charges against him.

In comments that drew applause from President Donald Trump and his allies, Ellis scolded Mueller's team and raised questions about whether its pursuit of charges against Manafort was really part of an attempt to elicit testimony against Trump himself in Mueller's ongoing probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether Trump's team coordinated with Moscow.

Mueller initially filed a heavily redacted version of the memo showing that Rosenstein had authorized him to pursue allegations connected to Manafort's work on behalf of a pro-Russia party in Ukraine, which preceded the 2016 election. The public portions also showed Mueller had the green light to look into any involvement in Russia's 2016 election meddling.

Trump's staunchest allies on Capitol Hill have since then demanded that the Justice Department provide an unredacted version of the memo to Congress, despite longstanding precedent prohibiting DOJ from sharing records from an ongoing investigation.

On Wednesday, Reps. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) called for Trump to override the Justice Department and order the release of the memo to Congress.

Meadows said the Mueller team’s decision to share the scope memo with Ellis bolsters his call to provide the document to Congress.

“You can’t share it with the judiciary and the Executive Branch and not share it with congress,” he told reporters on Capitol Hill. “I think it strengthens our case.

Meadows, who frequently speaks with Trump, said he hadn’t received a response from Trump to the GOP lawmakers’ letter but that he would be surprised if the White House doesn’t endorse their call.

“I would be surprised if they don’t act upon it,” he said, “but I’ve been surprised before.”

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