Part 1 of a series: Why I read the Mueller Report and why everyone should.
I’m no one special, an everyday American like you, so my words in common language might not pass a legal test. However, I am a news fanatic and a pit bull when researching what stirs my curiosity, or anything I read, hear or see that doesn’t feel quite right. When I want facts, I trust no one. I check multiple sources. My blog posts are my opinion and my understanding of facts as best as I can determine.
My sense of duty compelled me to read the Mueller report. I explain my reasons in this post. I hope to convince you that reading the report is not as intimidating as it seems. In future posts, I delve into the reports anatomy, and suggest what you can skim or skip to lighten the load (in my opinion). I begin at the beginning.
How did we get here?
Activities by Russian operatives and suspicious links to candidate Trump associates and campaign officials sparked a covert counterintelligence investigation by the FBI in the summer of 2016.
- January and February 2017, several House and Senate committees probe Russian meddling.
- March 20th on Capitol Hill, FBI Director James Comey confirms the bureau is investigating links between Russia and the Trump campaign.
- May 3rd during a Senate hearing, Comey states he believes Russian meddling continues.
- May 9th, Trump fires FBI Director James Comey.
- May 17th, in addition to previous hearings on foreign agents and election meddling, Democratic lawmakers request memos from the White House regarding Trump’s interactions with Comey leading to the Director’s dismissal.
- May 17th, The Department of Justice Order No. 3915-2017 calls for the Appointment of Special Counsel to Investigate Russian Interference with the 2016 Presidential Election and Related Matters.
- Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appoints former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III to serve as Special Counsel and continue the FBI’s investigation.
The report on that investigation is now commonly known as the Mueller Report. (You can see and read the actual Order No. 3915-2017, it’s included in the Mueller Report as Appendix A.)
What is the Mueller Report?
Report On The Investigation
Into Russian Interference In The
2016 Presidential Election
Phew! Even the title is a lot of reading. Stay with me.
Why I read the entire Mueller Report.
Yes, it’s true. I read the entire report, footnotes and all (don’t skip the footnotes). The day after the redacted report was released to the public on April 18, 2019, I downloaded a free PDF copy and began reading Volume I. It was easy to Google search and find it on NPR’s website (National Public Radio, Inc. because I trust them). Yes, the report is long at 448 pages because it had to be. It’s loaded with facts and the testimony of several sources for each point. I took a few weeks from reading for my brain to process the material before I dove into Volume 2. I finished reading the report on Memorial Day, 2019.
My reasons for reading the Mueller Report follow:
- Our election was attacked by Russia, an adversarial government, and that’s important.
- We’ve seen Russian election interference in other countries, and now they’ve messed with us with the intention of helping one candidate, hurting another, and dividing us.
- Special Counsel (S.C.) Mueller and his skilled team worked diligently for two years on our behalf to uncover the truth about the Russian interference in our election. We owe it to them to read their report.
- Mueller assembled an “A-Team” with specific expertise in: counterespionage, cyber crimes, national security, counterterrorism and counterintelligence investigations, campaign finance, fraud and foreign bribery, foreign lobbying law, money laundering, organized crime, fluent in Russian and Russia media, constitutional law and obstruction of justice—and more. They deserve to have their work read.
- I felt it my patriotic duty as much as voting, it’s the very least we can do.
- We paid for the report and I hate to waste money.
- I’m no sheep. No one tells me what to think. I can read. Present the facts and I’ll form my conclusion—as should you.
Let me add one more reason: Basic human courtesy.
I can’t imagine (actually, I can) working on a project for two years, doing my best for content and accuracy and for my country, presenting it as asked, and the people say, “Nah, I don’t want to read it.”
I respect Robert S. Mueller III as a former Marine, lawyer, FBI Director, and Special Counsel for the U.S. Dept. of Justice. He wants us to read his report. He said so himself in a public statement on May 29th. I couldn’t agree more.
Reading the report isn’t as intimidating as you might think. Imagine how proud you’ll be when you’re done, knowing you did the right thing. We owe it our country, and to ourselves to know the facts.
Where to find your very own copy of the Mueller Report.
Ha! Where can’t you find it. Search on Google for “free download of Mueller Report” and you’ll get 35 million results. Take your pick. Read it online or download a PDF from a legitimate, trusted website.
I found my free, “no-frills” Original Document (PDF) on NPR’s website. Numerous “frilled” versions in paperback and hardcover books are available from most booksellers, and range in price from Free to $9.99 to $19.99 and up. Kindle, e-book, large print, audio book. Some advertise extra comment and analysis.
Here’s a link to the plain redacted version from the U.S. Dept. of Justice, Mueller Report.
Can’t wait to get started?
By now I imagine, you can hardly wait to dig in and are tempted to peek at summaries. Go right ahead because those summaries will pique your interest and before you know it you’ll have read the Mueller Report. You’ll find it surprisingly readable, especially for a government document. Trust me, you’ve read worse. The report’s organization and detail impressed me; and I found the flawless grammar and punctuation to be refreshing.
Some say the report reads like a novel. As an author who writes actually novels, I beg to differ. The prose lacks the emotion of a mystery or thriller (emotion comes later in the form of frustration, outrage and anger). The report is definitely plot-worthy of a political or mobster thriller with an impressive cast of unsavory, cooperating, and heroic characters.
Thanks for your interest in How to Read the Mueller Report: A Primer for the Rest of Us
Read the report. You can do it. It’s free online right now. I read the PDF document at NPR (National Public Radio)
Listen to the report. A free serialized narrative podcast is online at LawfareBlog.com:
How to Read the Mueller Report: A Primer for the Rest of Us
Thank you for your interest in this non-political how-to series.
I plan to post this 4-part series around the time former Special Counsel Robert Mueller testifies in an open session of congress on Wednesday, July 24, 2019.
I offer no conclusions, political or otherwise. That’s my point. Read the report and form your own. I simply offer encouragement and based on my experience, I hope to make the reading easier—for the rest of us.
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