×

How Did the Mueller Report Show Up on Amazon When It Hasn’t Been Made Public?

Days after special counsel Robert Mueller submitted his report on Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, two new listings on Amazon have added fire to the debate over whether or not the full report should be made public — and if so, when it will be released.

Though Mueller himself has not commented on his findings, Attorney General William Barr did present a four-page summary to Congress of the results of Mueller’s investigation, which stated that neither President Donald Trump nor members of his campaign “conspired or coordinated” with the Russian government to run election interference. Barr was careful to note, however, that “while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him” on the obstruction of justice.

Barr and his team have so far been the only people privy to the full report. Former federal and NY state prosecutor Daniel R. Alonso, currently a managing director of Exiger, says “there is no current expectation one way or the other” for the report to be released publicly, and that “the discretion rests with the Attorney General.”

While there hasn’t been any announcement from Barr as to whether the full findings will be released, two listings popped up on Amazon this week that make the report available for pre-order.

One Amazon listing says its report will include an introduction from legal expert and frequent cable news commentator, Alan Dershowitz. The second listing is attributed to the Washington Post, and says readers will get the full report, a timeline of events, and “key documents” in the special counsel’s investigation into Russian meddling, which includes filings pertaining to General Michael T. Flynn, Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen and Roger Stone. The listing says both Mueller’s report and the supporting documents will be accompanied by an introduction and analysis from Washington Post reporters.

While the listings have already shot to the top of Amazon’s Best Sellers list, it’s still unclear as to whether or not the report will see the light of day. Both listings have April 30 as a placeholder release date, though there has been no talk of any timeline regarding the report’s full release, despite calls from both Democrats and Republicans (and even Trump himself) for the findings to come out. The decision, it would seem, rests with Barr.

TRENDING ON VARIETY: 

According to federal guidelines, “The Attorney General may determine that public release of these reports would be in the public interest, to the extent that release would comply with applicable legal restrictions.”

“The regulations speak of the public interest, and I can’t imagine anything more in the public interest than the release of this report,” Alonso says. “On the other hand, prosecutors generally charge people or don’t. When they don’t, they are discouraged from speaking about the evidence they had, which might have come close to being sufficient for a criminal charge, but was ultimately not.”

Alonso adds that even Barr “can’t authorize the public release of (1) Grand Jury information, or (2) classified information. I expect that, if the AG releases the report, those items would be redacted,” he says. “Additionally, some information may pertain to ongoing investigations, which could be damaged if the information were made public.”

Court TV anchor and former prosecutor and State and Federal Defense Attorney, Seema Iyer agrees. She says Barr “doesn’t have to disclose more than the summary he wrote.” But Barr can release more or all of it, if he chooses, she says, subject to redactions. “Anything redacted would be to protect witnesses, grand jury and other investigations, classified material, as well as ongoing prosecutions,” Iyer explains.

There is another way in which the full report could see the light of day. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said in a tweet late Sunday that he would call on Barr to testify “in the near future,” intimating that the committee will use its subpoena power to obtain the full Mueller report. “Mueller could also be called to testify,” Iyer says. “This fight could go to the Supreme Court, with Congress boasting its investigative powers, and the Justice Department arguing that confidentiality must be maintained.”

The Department of Justice has so far not commented on the Amazon listings for the Mueller report, and it’s unlikely that they’ll address it. There was similarly no comment from the DOJ when former FBI director James Comey released his tell-all book last spring, and when former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe released his book, “The Threat: How The FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump” last month.

Ultimately, experts say the almost two-year wait for Mueller to complete his investigation, and the back and forth over its findings has only fueled demand for the full report to be released.

“We are living through Watergate 2.0,” Iyer says. “If the presidency was hijacked by the Russians, the American people, and the world, has a right to know.”

“I don’t think there has been a matter of greater public interest than this one in a long time,” Alonso adds. “The legitimacy of the presidency, and even the effectiveness of U.S. democracy, are at stake.”

VarietySPY editorial products are independently selected. If you buy something through our links, PMC may earn a commission.

More Politics

  • Kamala Harris

    Joe Biden and Kamala Harris Face Rematch in Next Democratic Debate

    Former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris will have the opportunity to square off again in the second debate among Democratic hopefuls vying for their party’s nomination in the 2020 presidential election CNN, which will broadcast the next round of debates on July 30 and 31, televised a draw Thursday night that decided [...]

  • Jennifer Aniston and Tig Notaro Donate

    Jennifer Aniston and Tig Notaro Join Hollywood's Buttigieg Bandwagon

    Pete Buttigieg has built a devoted following in Hollywood over the last few months, helping him lead the Democratic field in fundraising for the second quarter. In a filing released Monday night, Buttigieg disclosed contributions from a bunch of bold-faced names, including Jennifer Aniston, Tig Notaro and Larry David. Buttigieg held numerous fundraisers in the [...]

  • Mary Bailey Steve D'Angelo, Jim Belushi

    Cannabis Industry Tackles Justice Reform With 'Last Prisoner Project'

    Jim Belushi is standing two feet away in the backyard of his spacious Brentwood home, honking a harp like he’s a Blues Brother back in sweet home Chicago accompanied by noted reggae band Rebelution’s Eric Rachmany and Kyle Ahern, who provide a 12-bar shuffle. There’s the sweet smell of skunk — and success — hanging [...]

  • Jeffrey Epstein

    Jeffrey Epstein Bail Decision Delayed, More Accusers Coming Forward

    Jeffrey Epstein won’t find out if he’s going to be released on bail until July 18, even as prosecutors argued that the multimillionaire businessman presents a flight risk and could endanger his accusers unless he remains in jail. At a hearing in Manhattan federal court on Monday, Epstein’s legal team said their client is willing [...]

  • Facebook Logo

    FTC Approves $5 Billion Fine Against Facebook for Privacy Violations

    The Federal Trade Commission voted to fine Facebook around $5 billion for violations of the FTC’s consumer-privacy rules, according to multiple media reports — the biggest privacy-related fine in the commission’s history. The $5 billion figure may be a record-breaker, but it represents less than Facebook reported in net profit ($5.43 billion) for the first [...]

  • United States Secretary of Labor Alexander

    Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta Resigning Amid Epstein Controversy

    Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta has tendered his resignation to President Trump after facing criticism for a plea deal he struck with billionaire Jeffrey Epstein in 2008 after Epstein was charged with luring teenage girls to his mansion for sex. According to the Los Angeles Times, Trump made the announcement Friday, telling reporters that Acosta [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content