A coalition of news organizations, including The Washington Post, asked a federal court Tuesday to unseal materials used by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to obtain search warrants in his investigation of President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and others indicted in the probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election. The news organizations are seeking to compel disclosure of affidavits, records of seizures and the warrants themselves that Mueller filed in bringing indictments against such figures as Manafort and former national security adviser Michael Flynn. They said the material, which has been shielded under a court order, could contain newsworthy information about the shape and direction of Mueller’s investigation. It could indicate, for example, details of criminal activity suspected by Mueller and the basis for FBI searches. The Post filed the joint motion with the New York Times, the Associated Press, CNN and Politico.
The request covers warrant material used in the investigation of former Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, Manafort associate Rick Gates and 13 Russian nationals who worked for the Internet Research Agency, a St. Petersburg-based company that allegedly plotted to undermine the 2016 election.
Information used to obtain criminal warrants is typically released to the public after a short holding period, typically a few weeks. But some Mueller documents have remained sealed for several months. Manafort and Gates, for example, were indicted in October.