CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Security

Mueller report: How to read the doc online or download it for free

The special counsel's report on Russia's interference in 2016 US presidential election is now available and could further sharpen the partisan divide.

Special Counsel Mueller's Trump-Russia Probe Report Reviewed By Attorney General William Barr

Former FBI director Robert Mueller delivered his report on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election to US Attorney General William Barr on March 22.

Getty Images/Tasos Katopodis

The highly anticipated Mueller report was released publicly -- with a fair amount of redactions -- on Thursday.

You can access the report at the Department of Justice website. Since it's in PDF format, you can download the file to your device for offline viewing or to transfer it to another device like a phone, tablet or e-reader.

You can also read the 448-page report directly here:

The report going public is culmination of a high-profile, nearly two-year investigation that captured the attention of Americans and interested onlookers abroad. Beyond posing questions about the relationship between Russia and President Donald Trump's campaign and whether they worked together to secure his victory, it also shined a light on how our election system was vulnerable to manipulation from outside forces. 

The investigation came to an end on March 22 when special counsel Robert Mueller delivered his report to US Attorney General William Barr.

Two days after receiving the report in late March, Barr sent a four-page summary to Congress and concluded that the Trump campaign didn't conspire with Russia on the interference and that Trump didn't obstruct justice. 

On Thursday, the Justice Department livestreamed a press conference before the report's release in which Barr reiterated that no conspiracy was found between the Russians trying to undermine the election and any Americans, including members of the Trump campaign.

Mueller's investigation, though, has led to indictments of six of Trump's advisers, along with 26 Russian nationals, including some on charges of hacking. Indictments against 12 of the Russians were tied to malware that infected the servers of the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 election campaign. The compromised servers enabled the theft of thousands of emails that were subsequently published by WikiLeaks. 

No new indictments are expected, according to CBS News. And long-running Justice Department policy means that it's unlikely that a sitting president can be indicted.

The president wasted no time responding to Barr's initial summary on March 24. He tweeted: "No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION." He has repeated that statement multiple times since then.

Other lawmakers weighed in as well, with Democrats saying Barr showed bias towards Trump, and Republicans saying the public release of the redacted report was a positive thing. Critics note that details in the report paint Trump in a negative light. 

Although Mueller's investigation didn't establish conspiracy on the part of the president, it also made no definitive determination on obstruction of justice. Barr's March 24 letter quotes the Mueller report as saying that "while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him" on the matter of obstruction.

The law doesn't require the Department of Justice to release a report on a special counsel investigation. But the president indicated on March 20 that he wants the report released and said, "Let people see it." Politicians from both major parties have said they want the full report released.

Top Democrats in Congress have called for the release of the Mueller report in its entirety. In a joint statement on March 24, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer said that Barr isn't a neutral observer and that his letter "raises as many questions as it answers."

In the meantime, what Mueller found during his 675-day investigation could lead to a widening of the partisan divide in the US, with Trump supporters likely to view the final results of the Mueller probe as exonerating the president, while his detractors see the report's contents and existing indictments as ample proof of wrongdoing.

Ahead of reading the full report, here are a few things you should know:

Why the Mueller report will be released to the public

In addition to the president, other top Democratic and Republican lawmakers have said they want the full report released. They include Pelosi, the Democratic leader of the House of Representatives, and Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida.

The Justice Department worked with Mueller's team to redact certain information from the public version of the report. During his Senate confirmation hearings in January, Barr told senators he wanted to release as much of the report as possible, "consistent with the law," as reported by CBS News.

Barr said he would be clear about the redactions, according to The New York Times.

What the public won't get to see

Because the report involves foreign relations and intelligence gathering, it's likely to contain classified and sensitive information that may compromise sources and have implications for national security. It's also likely to contain information on why Mueller didn't prosecute certain individuals -- information the Justice Department doesn't usually disclose, according to CBS News. As a result, some parts of the report may be withheld altogether and other parts could be heavily redacted.

On Wednesday, The Washington Post reported that the Mueller report will only be "lightly redacted."

What we know about redactions

At his Thursday morning press conference about the release of the Mueller report, Barr said there are "limited redactions" in the version of the report that will be released to Congress and the public and that they are "clearly labeled." He went on to explain that there are four categories of redactions in the report:

  • Grand jury material
  • Information that would disclose sensitive sources
  • Information that would impair other cases
  • Information that would implicate the privacy or reputation of third parties

He also said that no redactions or recommendations for redactions were made by people outside the Justice Department and no redactions were made based on the president's executive privilege. 

Who's been indicted so far

As detailed by The New York Times, 32 people have been charged with crimes by Mueller, including 26 Russian nationals who are unlikely to stand trial. Those indictments include charges against 12 Russian hackers alleged to have been behind cyberattacks in 2016 against the Democratic National Committee and against 13 Russians for spreading disinformation on social media, as well as the propaganda efforts' chief accountant.

Now playing: Watch this: Justice Department indicts 12 Russian cyberspies suspected...
1:59

Meanwhile, six Trump associates have been accused of a set of crimes that include financial malfeasance and lying to investigators, and five of them have already been convicted or pleaded guilty. The most prominent are Paul Manafort, former chairman of the Trump 2016 campaign; Michael Cohen, a former Trump lawyer; and Michael Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser.

Mueller also has indicted longtime Trump political adviser Roger Stone over his alleged ties to WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign.

Why Trump is unlikely to be impeached

With Trump himself unlikely to be indicted or subpoenaed, it will take a major bombshell in the Mueller report to trigger impeachment proceedings in Congress. Even before Barr's summary to Congress, that option became even more unlikely when Pelosi stated in early March that she doesn't support impeachment, saying that unless there's overwhelming evidence, impeachment would become too partisan and divisive to make it worth dominating the agenda of Congress.

Congressional investigations will continue

Even without an impeachment effort, we will see more investigations. The House Intelligence Committee announced in February that it was widening its probe into Russian interference in the 2016 US election. As CBS News reported, the committee's chairman, Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, pointed out that a new addition to the five lines of inquiry would be "[w]hether any foreign actor has sought to compromise or holds leverage, financial or otherwise, over Donald Trump, his family, his business, or his associates." Separately, the House Judiciary Committee has launched an investigation into whether Trump obstructed justice by firing former FBI Director James Comey.

Originally published March 24.
Updates, March 27: Adds Amazon listings; March 29: Adds information on when the report will go to Congress; April 9: Adds Barr's statement on when he'll send the report to Congress; April 15: Adds that DOJ will release the report on April 18; April 17: Adds information on the Attorney General's press conference; April 18: Adds official link to the report and information about the redactions. April 19: Additional background.