Mueller fights media access to secret court filings.
The special prosecutor’s portrayal of an active, ongoing investigation seems at odds with claims by Trump’s lawyers.
May 17, 2017 - Robert S. Mueller III is appointed to serve as SpecialÂ Counsel for the United States Department of Justice.Â
Officially coming into existence on July 1, 1870, the Department of Justice was empowered to handle all criminal prosecutions and civil suits in which the United States had an interest.Â
The 1870 Act remains the foundation for the Departmentâ€™s authority, but the structure of the Department of Justice has changed over the years, with the addition of the offices of Deputy Attorney General, Associate Attorney General, and the formation of various components, offices, boards and divisions.Â From its beginning as a one-man, part-time position, the Department of Justice has evolved into the world's largest law office and the chief enforcer of federal laws.
Thomas Jefferson wrote, â€œThe most sacred of the duties of government [is] to do equal and impartial justice to all its citizens.â€Â This sacred duty remains the guiding principle for the women and men of the U.S. Department of Justice.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION
OF THE ASSOCIATED PRESS; CABLE NEWS
NETWORK, INC.; THE NEW YORK TIMES
CO.; POLITICO LLC; AND WP CO., LLC,
d/b/a THE WASHINGTON POST FOR
ACCESS TO CERTAIN SEALED COURT
Case No. 1:18-mc-41 (ABJ)
GOVERNMENT'S RESPONSE TO MOTION
FOR PUBLIC ACCESS TO CERTAIN SEALED COURT RECORDS
The United States of America, by and through Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller, III, files
this response to the motion by a coalition of five media companies to unseal search warrant
materials and other court records in the Special Counsel's investigation. The movants seek
unsealing of (1) the warrants, applications, supporting affidavits, and returns relating to all search,
seizure, and Stored Communications Act warrants pertaining to the Special Counsel's
investigation into Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election; and (2) certain
records from the pending prosecution in United States v. Manafort, No. 17-cr-201-ABJ (D.D.C.),
including sealed hearing transcripts. The request for broad unsealing of search warrant materials
should be denied. The Special Counsel's investigation is not a closed matter, but an ongoing
criminal investigation with multiple lines of non-public inquiry. No right of public access exists
to search warrant materials in an ongoing investigation.
A First Amendment right of access can be found only where a long and unbroken history
of public access exists and where access would play a significant positive role in the governmental
process. Neither requirement is satisfied here. Search warrant materials regularly remain sealed
while investigations are ongoing. And a right of public access risks jeopardizing open
investigations. That remains true even though some aspects of the investigation have resulted in
Case 1:18-mc-00041-ABJ Document 9 Filed 05/23/18 Page 1 of 21
charges; the overall investigation is not complete, and the search warran