When Russia investigation special counsel Robert Mueller finally releases the report of his findings, the public may not get a look at what the report contains. As The New York Times has reported, unless Congress is able to pass legislation requiring Mueller's report be made publicly available, whether or not it ever sees the light of day will be decided by Donald Trump-appointed United States Attorney General William Barr.
But in an article published online Wednesday, Politico revealed that there will be a second report attached to the final Mueller report, and that one is required under Justice Department regulations to be sent to Congress — meaning that it will be "fast-tracked" to be made public.
In that report, according to Politico, will be a complete list of every instance when Mueller made a request to his bosses at the Justice Department, and was refused. Such requests would likely cover potentially explosive areas, such as requests for subpoenas aimed at the White House or Trump family members, or even a possible request to file an indictment of Trump himself.
The requirement to submit the report on Mueller's declined requests is detailed in the "General Powers of Special Counsel" regulations, made available online by Cornell University Law School.
On the other hand, the second report could contain nothing, which would indicate that Mueller was granted every request that he made.
Sol Wisenberg, a former deputy to Ken Starr — the independent counsel who investigated President Bill Clinton in the 1990s — told Politico that the second report will be a blockbuster, whether it is blank or not.
"Assuming Mueller doesn't indict anybody else, Trump will be able to say this guy wasn't kept at all from going anywhere he wanted to go," Wisenberg explained. "On the other hand, if he was kept from going somewhere, that's a big deal too. The Democrats will make a big deal about that."
While Mueller has not been closely supervised by the Justice Department, according to Politico, any major move in his investigation — such as subpoenas or indictments — would have required approval from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, followed by Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, and now Barr.
Any requests made by Mueller that were refused by his higher-ups could then be pursued by congressional investigators, or other prosecutors, such as the federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York. These prosecutors are already, as The Daily Beast reports, purportedly conducting wide-ranging investigations into areas of Trump's businesses not covered by Mueller's mandate, which was limited to coordination by the Trump campaign with Russia in the 2016 presidential election.