More Complete Mueller Report Shows Trump Jr., Roger Stone Spared Charges

Documents released by the Department of Justice show former special counsel Robert Mueller backed down from charges he'd considered filing against Donald Trump Jr. and Republican operative Roger Stone.

The department on Friday released a less-redacted version of Mueller's report on Russian interference into the 2016 election. Available in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by BuzzFeed News, the document reveals new details on the special counsel investigation that produced multiple convictions against associates of former President Donald Trump and foreign agents.

Roger Stone Speaking
Roger Stone, a previous adviser and confidant to former U.S. President Donald Trump, addresses reporters in front of the Thomas P. O'Neill Jr. Federal Building on December 17, 2021, in Washington, D.C. Newly released Justice Department documents show why Stone and Donald Trump Jr. were spared further charges during the special counsel investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 election. Getty/Anna Moneymaker

Trump Jr. used a password supplied to him by WikiLeaks, an organization known for publishing classified documents, to access a website called "putintrump.org" in the run up to the 2016 election, according to the investigation. The website is critical of Trump and his relationship to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Trump Jr. was able to access the website using the password, according to the report. Although it's unclear what Trump Jr. did with the access, the report states Mueller had enough evidence to charge Trump Jr. with a federal "computer intrusion" misdemeanor.

However, the report reasoned that "prosecution was not warranted" because the password Trump Jr. used had also been posted by WikiLeaks to its public Twitter account.

"Given that Trump Jr. did not himself initiate the plan to access the website or guess the password, the absence of evidence that his acts caused any damage to the website or obtained valuable information, the technical nature of the violation, and the minimal punishment that a misdemeanor conviction could be expected to carry in these circumstances, the Office decided against pursuing charges," reads the report.

During the 2016 race, Russian intelligence operatives hacked computers and emails affiliated with the Democratic party and the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton. The emails were released by WikiLeaks and contained information used to criticize the Democratic National Committee.

Stone had earlier touted his relationship with WikiLeaks and his connection with its founder Julian Assange.

The new version of the report shows Mueller found the "evidence was not sufficient" to charge Stone, who worked on Trump's 2016 campaign, with crimes related to hacking of the Democratic National Committee computers and email accounts.

The report states that Mueller's office did not have enough proof that Stone and WikiLeaks had enough knowledge of "ongoing computer intrusions."

"The absence of evidence as to knowledge, in short, would both hinder the
government's ability to prove conspiracy liability and also potentially provide a First Amendment defense," the report reads. "Therefore, the Office did not seek charges against WikiLeaks, Assange, or Stone for participating in the computer-intrusion conspiracy."

Stone was convicted of charges involving lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstructing a congressional committee stemming from its investigation into Russia's involvement in the 2016 election. He was granted clemency by Trump in 2020.

"This further vindicates what we have been saying all along, that Mr. Stone did not have anything to do with Wikileaks' activities and did not know anything about their plans," Grant Smith, Stone's lawyer, told Newsweek in an email.

Newsweek has reached out to Trump Jr. for comment.

Correction (2/14/2022, 1 p.m.): This article mistakenly omitted Vladimir Putin's name when referring to the Russian president. Newsweek regrets the error.