Interesting things we learned from the release of information surrounding the search warrants issued for Michael Cohen include a partial answer to the question of why is the Robert Mueller probe taking so long. Everyone describes Mueller as careful and methodical, and today’s release gives us a glimpse into what that means when it is put into action.
We learned that Mueller and his SDNY allies were investigating Michael Cohen in earnest for a year before the raid of his offices, and they built a justification for one warrant, then he sifted through the information gathered, then built a justification for the next warrant. This is a fine example of the careful, patient and thorough investigative work that Mueller is known to produce. The first warrant was issued in July of 2017 for one gmail account. Then a second was issued in August for an iCloud account. Then later, a warrant was issued for a second Gmail account.
This gives a glimpse into just how much information Mueller and his allies have on each and every subject and target in the investigation. They had full access to two years of Cohen’s emails, and a list of all the people Cohen called, or who called him, and when, and the length of the calls. They clearly know so much more than has been made public about each and every subject and target.
This brings us to the next and most interesting thing we learned: there is still a lot of information that Mueller and his allies are keeping redacted. Information regarding payments to Stormy Daniels and campaign finance payments is almost completely redacted. That is surprising because so much information about this subject is already public. What is left to redact?
Redactions are made to protect people who are named, but will not be indicted, from unfair or misleading public scrutiny. They’re also made to protect an ongoing investigation, in order to keep potential subjects and targets from learning about investigative information and techniques. In this case, the judge said the redactions were justified for the latter reason.
That means there is more to the story than has already been made public, and there are additional subjects and targets involved. Also telling was the unredacted title of the section that is redacted: “The illegal campaign contribution scheme.” This title confirms that the prosecutors could seek charges for illegal campaign contributions, as well as conspiracy to commit campaign finance violations, against multiple people. More than anything else, the warrant information tells us there is much more to come.
Cheryl Kelley lives in the DC area with her husband and young son. She is active in government and politics.