Special counsel Robert Mueller investigated whether an unidentified media member participated in an attempt to steal information from the Democratic Party, the Justice Department revealed Thursday.
No media member was charged with conspiring to steal information from members of the political party, and nothing appears to have come from this line of inquiry, the Washington Examiner reported.
The DOJ disclosed the news in an amendment to an annual report for the 2018 calendar year on law enforcement actions taken against members of the news media, the Examiner said.
Mueller was special prosecutor for the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein approved a subpoena in 2018 seeking phone and email records from “a member of the news media suspected of participating in the conspiracy,” the document said, the Examiner reported.
The Examiner added that Rosenstein also approved a request for a voluntary interview with the media member and a subpoena to force testimony before a grand jury.
“All of this information was necessary to further the investigation of whether the member of the news media was involved in the conspiracy to unlawfully obtain and utilize the information from the hacked political party or other victims,” the DOJ said in a document, which did specifically mention Mueller.
When asked about the identity of the media member, a DOJ spokesperson referred the Examiner to Mueller’s report.
“I think the matter you’re referring to is in the 2019 report,” the DOJ spokesperson said.
Initially released to the public in April 2019, Mueller’s report said his office “issued more than 2,800 subpoenas under the auspices of a grand jury sitting in the District of Columbia; executed nearly 500 search-and-seizure warrants; obtained more than 230 orders for communications records under 18 U.S.C. § 2703(d); obtained almost 50 orders authorizing use of pen registers; made 13 requests to foreign governments pursuant to Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties; and interviewed approximately 500 witnesses, including almost 80 before a grand jury.”
Mueller’s investigation “did not establish” any criminal conspiracy between former President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia, but it found that Russia interfered “in a sweeping and systematic fashion” during the 2016 presidential election.
The probe’s report described 10 instances of possible obstruction of justice that Democrats used in their aim to impeach Trump.
The investigation also led to several convictions and guilty pleas from Trump’s associates over charges unrelated to collusion with Russia, the Examiner said.
Mueller charged 12 Russian intelligence officials with hacking and leaking emails from members of the Democratic Party during the 2016 election.