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[flagged] The Mueller Report [pdf] (justice.gov)
311 points by miobrien 32 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 150 comments

Quoted from Volume II, page 182:



Because we determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment, we did not draw ultimate conclusions about the President's conduct. The evidence we obtained about the President's actions and intent presents difficult issues that would need to be resolved if we were making a traditional prosecutorial judgment. At the same time, if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.

This conclusion is the one most prosecutors reach and still decide to pursuit a lawsuit since they could probably get a settlement or a plea bargain, In this case you can't since the law / constitution is very murky when it comes to prosecuting the President and the extent that executive privilege protects them.

Outside of my personal opinion, it is very clear that this is will continue to be fought on purely political grounds. Damned be the laws and proper legislative procedures. Even the presentation of the document this morning was hyper politicized by both parties while the document does a noble attempt at neutrality.

You know who should determine if prosecution has basis to pursue? The courts, not the prosecution.

Mueller and his team attempting to be neutral, in this case, plays into Trump and the GOPs side and thus the outcome becomes partisan, despite the intention.

This seems a good summary to me. After all, you cannot prove a negative.

It goes farther than that:

> At the same time, if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state.

So if it looks like he didn't commit obstruction of justice, they would have said that. They can't prove a negative, but if there hadn't been any evidence, they would have been willing to make a judgement that Trump was innocent. But they did find evidence, so they're unwilling to say he's not guilty of obstruction.

Yeah he probably tried to obstruct but they can't prove it.

Seems like it’s “he tried to obstruct, here is the evidence, it’s Congress’s job to do something about it”

I don't know about you, but this investigation has been exhausting and extremely divisive for the country as a whole.. I think if no action is going to come out of this investigation, then its time for us to move on and think about bigger and better things.

Not much chance of that before the 2020 elections.

It will be interesting to see how the next president after Trump handles this matter (whether in 2021 or in 2025). I think there's a nonzero chance that even a Democratic president would pardon Trump in the name of national unity.

Wow, if you check the paragraphs directly before the summary the reports effectively lays out A) a legal argument that the president can be prosecuted and B) evidence that he obstructed justice. And then the summary pulls off this lukewarm "we chose not to make a decision, so he isn't guilty but neither is he exonerated."

Its really weird, I wonder what on earth Muller and Co. were thinking here. I almost suspect they reneged on making a choice because they knew that Barr would fuck with things.

They didn't choose to prosecute him because it's Department of Justice policy not to indict a sitting President. They're leaving it up to Congress to impeach him first.

From the "Introduction to Volume II:" "... if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment. The evidence we obtained about the President 's actions and intent presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him."

I read that more as "we chose not to make a decision, but he isn't clearly not guilty". Not "therefore", "but".

"The President's efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests."

Here is the NBC mirror but served over IPFS if someone is having difficulties reaching it: https://ipfs.io/ipfs/QmVZoRuiYD8ekwd7vXDj7XiGjqWkANa9GKXuYW2...

Edit: finally fully downloaded the PDF from justice.gov's servers. The files are identical.

The URL is quite interesting. Is this the only report on the whole justice.gov website?

Yeah I noticed that too. Best guess is they assigned some random "tech guy" to "put it online" and they must not have a standard for this kind of document? Doesn't seem like it's a good choice as surely that's terrible future proofing?

No, they have tons of releases. This is very odd.

> No, they have tons of releases

Tons of releases of special counsel final reports?

I don't think so.

If you only knew...

As far as I can tell, the "storage" folder has never been used for a release like this before, so either this is the first public file in a giant folder, or somebody noticed that "storage" was available, and decided to be cute. To be honest .tdl./storage/ is probably available for a lot of companies to utilize if they like.

I used ocrmypdf to generate a searchable version here:

This version is good, it doesn't have the incomplete search issue.

What is the point of getting a redacted report? Why is it redacted?

There are 4 categories of redactions in this report.

1. Grand Jury -- Everyone's 5th Amendment Right states that you CANNOT be accused of a crime without a Grand Jury okaying the indictment. Ex: Muller suspected "John Doe" was involved. They looked into the matter, and then "John Doe" wasn't involved. Although a bunch of information on "John Doe" was collected, they need to be kept secret because he's innocent (as per 5th Amendment Rights). Otherwise, the internet hate-machine will hound an innocent man just for being named in the report.

2. Personal Privacy -- 4th Amendment Rights to all citizens. More or less an extension of the concept from #1.

3. Sources and Methods -- Basically, some information could have gotten only through top-secret methodologies. By revealing the information, the opponent (ie: Russia) would learn how we spied on them. So the information would have to be kept secret if we wanna keep our spy-game vs Russia up.

4. Ongoing investigations -- There are cases that have spawned from this report. Those cases are still ongoing, so releasing any information early would harm those cases. This is likely Wikileaks / Julian Assange issues, maybe Roger Stone. We'll get that information later for sure, but releasing it now would be harmful.

Literally most of the redactions say "Harm on Ongoing Matter", so my best guess is that releasing them would hurt currently running investigations?

The two cited reasons I've noted in the ToC (there may be others in the body) are “personal privacy” and “harm to ongoing matter”; from the structure of the document, it's apparent that a number though possibly not all of the latter concern Wikileaks and/or Roger Stone.

To protect whistle-blowers, or other assets that require anonymity.

and the president's childrens...

Unlikely. Remember that the House Intelligence Committee has a full set of Top-Secret clearances, as well as the Senate Intelligence Committee.

They're not allowed to tell us any top-secret information, but you can usually tell if something is getting hidden from the public based on their reactions. If something is getting hidden, expect Ron Wyden (or other Democrats on those Committees) to make a big, vague, stink about the matter.

In effect, the existence of those top-secret committees ensures that the redactions are fair. Unlike most committees, the law states that Democrats AND Republicans must be as close to 50/50 split on those committees as possible, due to their great importance in matters such as these.

Security clearance has no impact on most of the reasons things are redacted in this, which are not classification. There will be apparently a version with fewer (but not no) redactions shared with a limited number of members of Congress, but there's been no indication that it would be members of the intelligence committees. (I'd expected members—or maybe just leadership from both parties—of the Judiciary Committee.)

> In effect, the existence of those top-secret committees ensures that the redactions are fair.

No, it doesn't in general, and it most obviously doesn't on matters like the Mueller Report where redactions aren't even notionally due to classification and where those conmittees don't get the unredacted versions.

Hmmm... you bring up some strong points. I'll have to do research later and confirm / reconfirm my armchair lawyer powers.

But for now, I should note that Volume II of the report has very, very few redactions.

This is important because Volume I seems to implicitly exonerate Trump (at least, Muller doesn't seem to think there's anything here).

Volume II however, Obstruction of Justice, seems to be the issue that Congress should look into. Since Volume II (Obstruction of Justice) is mostly available to the public / non-secret, I'm feeling pretty confident that Congress has what it needs to act (or decide to not act). There are a few "HOM" (harm to ongoing matter) redactions, but the evidence is laid out pretty cleanly.

What if there are 3+ major parties?

I guess we'll worry about that when we get there. There are plenty of real problems in the US system of law that we really shouldn't be trying to fix hypothetical problems that don't exist yet.

Why not wait for evidence of unjust redactions before making a claim like that?

We might never know. Do you think we should never think about what was redacted ?

Many of us have been deliberately mislead into thinking that because the Special Counsel's office issued a report, that means it's the end. There are still numerous pending trials and pre-arrest indictments. Especially for the pre-arrested, they can't release every detail on what they know about those people. For the pre-trial, they don't want there to be any confusion between wording in the report and what's officially submitted as evidence on discovery.

It looks like they're concerned that releasing some of the details would compromise other investigations that haven't yet concluded.

To protect national security

This post appeared to instantly drop from position 1 on the front page to position 32-33 on the second page of HN just a moment ago.

What could cause such a dramatic and sudden drop, especially for a link that seems politically neutral (just sharing the report, no editorializing), and most of the comments seem to be about the redaction process...?

HN has lots of code in it designed to discourage high controversy, low comment value posts. My guess is this submission was knocked down in the rankings because it immediately received a huge volume of very short comments and no long comments. That's probably not the profile HN's algorithms like to see.

It's politics. Many HN readers will flag it immediately for that.

I'm one of the flaggers. While I'm totally ok with politics on HN, it should have something more than that. Americans have enough places to discuss their party politics.

This belongs everywhere.

If we can't sit down and have a civil discussion on a legal proceeding with impact at the highest levels of our government, we have bigger issues.

This isn't some trivial wardrobe malfunction political soap opera. This is the culmination of an investigation into one of the most destructively divisive Administrations in modern history. This has the potential to absolutely undermine the faith of a large swath of the American people in their government's ability to conduct business on their behalf without being absurdly vulnerable to outside interference.

This goes so far beyond merely being a partisan shot at Trump. Everyone should read this. Everyone should take a day to really sit down and absorb all the details in this report and ask themselves if there is any room in how they believe their country should operate for these findings to be considered a sign of the "healthy" operation of the system.

I'm floored to be quite honest. There are fundamental issues and questions raised by the underlying facts outlined in this report I'm not sure anyone has ever dreamed of needing to be asked.

Please, read it, don't try to suppress it. For once in your life, accept and honor your civic responsibility to be informed.

I know Americans enjoy pretending you rule over the whole world, but I can assure you it's not my government, nor my country, for that matter.

I don't dispute the importance of the document, but surely the US is not in such a want of places to publish that HN must be appropriated in order to allow every citizen to read it. Therefore, I reserve my right to judge it inadequate for this site, and to flag it accordingly.

And I should tell you that despite your condescending plea, I actually follow this sordid affair better than most. I suggest you look for other sources of information, so that you aren't reduced for begging for every important news report to be included in HN.

No condescension was intended. Be you American or not, if you've followed it as closely as you purport, than surely you've come to the realization the circumstances could just as easily have originated in your own country rather than in America. I would hope that none would begrudge you the opportunity to engage in healthy discourse here.

I'll speak no more on the matter. I've clearly ruffled your feathers, which was far from my intent. I respectfully and vehemently disagree with your motivations for contributing to delay crucial conversations being held, yet nevertheless, wish you a good day.

> No condescension was intended.

You implied (from a reading of a mere 30 words), that I never in my life "accepted my civic responsibility to be informed."

If it wasn't intended, I can only commend your natural ability.

I didn't flag it, but I tend to agree that it doesn't really belong on HN. It's one of the topics that makes me feel worse about the HN community, and I'd prefer to stay delusional in that regard.

Well... yes, they should. But they don't have many places where they can have an actual, rational, fact-and-evidence-based discussion. HN is a place where that kind of conversation can happen.

And yet, HN too often fails to be such a place when politics comes up. Ideally, we should be able to handle it here. If and when we can't, dumping the toxicity rather than wallowing in it is probably the correct response.

It's weird to think that more work has gone into this one report than I will put into my career in my lifetime.

It’s less than a tenth of an F-35, to put things in perspective. And the Manafort restitution alone almost pays for it.

Question for people who work with text processing: is it possible to use some kind of statistical analysis to make a guess at what's behind some of the redactions? I notice a lot of them have big blocks of black with footnote references, and those footnotes are often not redacated.

Was this flagged off the front page?

A good visualization on the whole report https://twitter.com/ajchavar/status/1118915893508083712

FULL EXONERATION! It was only CLINTON that colluded with Russia!

-- Half your country, somehow.

Innocent until proven guilty is a good standard. They couldn't prove any guilt, therefore he is considered innocent.

The Justice Department innately cannot prosecute the President, because the President can always fire people as the case is made. (Edit: Also President can theoretically pardon himself) The Justice Department (and the Attorney General) serves at behest the President.

It is Congress's duty to prosecute the President through impeachment proceedings. At best, Muller's report should be seen as a gathering of evidence for a potential impeachment process.

As such, it is very important for Congress to read over the details of this report, and decide if the level of Obstruction here rises to impeachment levels. (Remember: President Bill Clinton was impeached on Obstruction of Justice. It wasn't illegal to have sex with his intern, it was illegal for him to cover-up the fact).

In either case: there won't be any removal of Mr. Trump from office. Democrats control the house, but Republicans control the Senate. The impeachment of Nixon only really happened because Democrats controlled both sides. The House can technically impeach (just as Bill Clinton was technically impeached), but the (Republican controlled) Senate can just sit around and do nothing about it.

Still, its important for Congress to go through the process, even if its a foregone conclusion.

> The Justice Department innately cannot prosecute the President,

That theory is widely disputed.

> It is Congress's duty to prosecute the President through impeachment proceedings.

It is Congress’ duty and role to do that for all civil officers of the United States; this is not exclusive of criminal prosecution. Impeachment is a separate, not substitute, process which serves to protect the United States from the unique and special harms of wrongdoers in office.

> The impeachment of Nixon only really happened because Democrats controlled both sides.

The impeachment of Nixon did not, in fact, happen at all—Andrew Johnson and Clinton are the only Presidents to have been impeached—though both it and conviction likely would have (IIRC, whip counts in both houses were part of the reason for the resignation) had Nixon not resigned.

> That theory is widely disputed.

Fair point. But it was accepted by the Muller Report, and therefore Muller decided to not even TRY to prosecute Mr. Trump. (See the introduction of Volume II of the report).

Perhaps one day, the theory will be tested. But for now, Muller didn't even want to test that theory. He moved forward assuming it was true.

> But it was accepted by the Muller Report

Incorrect, or at best misleading; the Mueller report only accepted that the Office of Special Counsel was, by the terms of it's creation, bound by a pre-existing DoJ (Office of Legal Counsel) determination to that effect; that is, Mueller was not permitted to prosecute due to the existence of the OLC determination and the terms of Mueller's appointment, irrespective of the correctness of the OLC opinion as to whether DoJ had the power to prosecute.

I'm not necessarily saying that Muller believes in that theory... only that he was operating under that theory within the context of the report.

Perhaps my word "acceptance" was a poor choice. But I want to emphasize that Muller did not fight against that theory. Whether he was unable to, or whether he believed the theory is a separate issue. The important bit is that the Muller Report operated under the assumption that they couldn't indict a sitting President.

Considering that something like 10 pages of the report looks like its dedicated to the constitutional powers of Congress (Article I vs Article II issues), it seems like the report is basically saying "This is Congress's issue, not Muller's issue. But here's the evidence Muller found."

> Considering that something like 10 pages of the report looks like its dedicated to the constitutional powers of Congress

It's largely discussng the Constitutional power of Congress to criminalize the conduct, which relates to the DoJ ability to investigate and prosecute it (the current DoJ opinion, as communicated in the Mueller report, is that it can investigate and prosecute the conduct of obstruction when committed by the President, despite the fact that it cannot prosecute any crime while the accused is President, which would mean, were the DoJ to be convinced by it's investigation that the President has obstructed justice, it could prosecute him, but only after he left office.)

Note particularly that the power being discussed is irrelevant to impeachment, which does not require a criminal statute as a basis.

> "This is Congress's issue, not Muller's issue. But here's the evidence Muller found."

It's expressly laying out why the President’s legal team’s argument that it is not a DoJ issue for criminal investigation was wrong.

Nixon wasn't impeached. We can only speculate as to the outcome if he had been.

Bill Clinton was impeached by the House and tried in the Senate for obstruction and lying to a grand jury. The case was too weak. It didn't work out well.

I don't recall any related prosecutions or indictments. So that's a pretty big difference. Several guilty pleas. Several ongoing investigations. A couple trials coming up...

I was aware enough of the news to follow Watergate. Trump's corruption looks to me to be worse than Watergate. Firing Comey and then telling McGhan to fire Mueller is a slow-motion Saturday Night Massacre by itself, and that's just scratching the surface. Nixon was never a national security threat except for being drunk off his ass.

It's not a question of, "Is this person a criminal and needs to go to jail," the question in this case is, "Is this a person worthy of being our head of state and representing our country?"

Shrug, every day that goes by I wonder if the man isn't a good representative of the majority of my country and I just run in non-representative circles.

Innocent until proven guilty is important for a justice system. But by the same token the lack of a conviction is not proof of innocence. "The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

Being unable to, for example, convict someone of a robbery doesn't mean they didn't commit the robbery; it may just mean that the evidence was improperly collected by the police.

You're absolutely right. But since there's no evidence, we can't label someone guilty, like the mass media have been doing for years now. /I'm not even a fan of Trump./

Perhaps I'm reading the doc wrong, but I'm not seeing that there's an absence of evidence, but that the justice department is not the correct venue to evaluate and act upon the evidence which was found.

impeachment has a lower standard than criminal charges so congress must decide this question

"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

And now we test the capacity of the justice department's file servers :)

FYI: Volume II starts on page 208

So not to be a cynic here, but from the outside (EU) it looks kinda like there is merit to the presidents claims of this investigation being a with hunt and what not.

The media also blew this so out of proportion that I was more or less stunned by the fact that there wasn't an impeachment at the end.

Whatever you think of Trump if he really didn't collude then the media have some internal retrospecive to do, I think.

The "Harm to Ongoing Matter" Report

Right, there are tons of things still going on. The report doesn't help other than to publicly say that there are a lot of not-innocent people involved.

It's disappointing that the PDF is not machine-readable; definitely a regression from the Obama years: https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2013/0...

Can anybody give percentages of redactions for relevant sections and breakdowns for reasons ("Harm to Ongoing Matter", "Grand Jury", etc.)? I skimmed the report and saw a handful of pages completely blacked over, and I believe those revolve around Internet Research Funding and associations with the Trump campaign.

I'll wait until Congress receives the full, unredacted report and closed-door testimony from the Special Counsel and hear what Schiff et al. have to say before making a judgment, but ultimately the fact that the 2016 election came this close in the first place was a severe failing in and of itself.

PDFs have a hidden meta layer of text. It is INSANELY easy to "block out" text thinking you are redacting it, but it is still right there in the document.

The only safe way to handle document redaction is convert a PDF to a series of images. Let someone on the public side do all the work of converting it to text.

Ahh I didn't think about this. I was thinking more in the lines of Photoshop, where you can have multiple layers and then compress them together when exporting and lose the metadata. But yes, this is definitely sensitive enough to not take any chances.

I suspect the whole document got squished down to prevent issues we've seen previously, like redactions being removable in PDF progams. (And yes, I checked. No dice)

> definitely a regression from the Obama year

Of all the things one could choose to focus on... :)

Be glad there even is a digital copy. First indication was printout only, and according to rumors I just made up, “interpretative dance” was another option considered.

A good start would be OCR this whole thing.

This one has the incomplete search issue.

>the searchable copies of the Mueller Report now circulating have been incompletely OCRed. It looks like OCR failed on any line that included any redaction at all, so there's substantial text that will still not show up in search

For example, the word "Sanders" appears on page 23, but this instance does not show up in searches.


You can also, as before, find the indictments and convictions (with hundreds of pages of attached evidence) from the investigation: https://www.justice.gov/sco

Numerous convictions for top-level members of the campaign. Detailed operations of the Internet Research Agency, including the many US identities stolen and their work with Cambridge Analytica. Indictments against the "Russian Lawyer" from the Trump Tower meeting that imply she's a spy. Over $60M taken from pro-Russian sources leading up to the invasion of Crimea, that was laundered through NYC real estate.

Don't go into reading the report thinking you'll find something new in there that'll blow your mind. You've already had plenty of giant scandals sitting on a public government server for months.

I don't know why anyone expected this to be a bombshell. If what we knew already wasn't enough, I have no idea what it would actually take to end this presidency. On the flip side, I have the strangest feeling we're going to see better polling numbers during the next U.S. presidential election.

IMO it's not much different than the situation with Nixon. It took an explicit, textbook demonstration of obstruction of justice, printed on paper and signed by the president, before the tide turned against him.

Edit: It was tape recording, not paper. Not sure how I forgot that detail.

I was a bit too young to follow Watergate in detail. Could you be more explicit about what the president signed?

My memory is a bit crap this morning it seems. Wasn't on paper, it was a tape. I was thinking of the transcripts but those were only released in redacted form. The actual tape recorded Nixon ordering the acting head of the FBI to halt the investigation. Up until that moment Nixon was pretty safe, congress was held by Republicans. But there was no escaping the obstruction of justice when that tape was released on August 5, 1974, and he resigned a few days later.

Ah, OK. I remember the tapes.

I believe it wasn't actual paper, but the release of the tapes with transcripts.

The bit about Trump ordering Lewandowski to deliver a dictated message to Sessions to limit the investigation to future elections (Volume II pg. 90-94) is something new and interesting.

"The message said that Sessions should publicly announce that, notwithstanding his recusal from the Russia investigation, the investigation was "very unfair " to the President, the President had done nothing wrong, and Sessions planned to meet with the Special Counsel and "let [him] move forward with investigating election meddling for future elections." Lewandowski said he understood what the President wanted Sessions to do." -- Page 217 on the OCR version that is going around.

Is this the full report?

There are multiple sections which are censored with "HOM" (Harm to Ongoing Matter) and "Personal Privacy"

Well obviously it's redacted, but presumably this is the full redacted report, which is what was supposed to be released today

Redacted. According to the ABC news segment on it right now.

Yes, but redacted.

A redacted version of it, but yes.

Can anyone explain the criteria for redaction and who gets to decide in this case? The DoJ? A brief skim through shows whole pages redacted.

On the wall at the National Security Archive office down at George Washington University, we have a piece of White House email that was sent to Colin Powell when he worked in the White House. The two versions are almost mirror images in the sense that the top and bottom of one version are blacked out. The middle of the second version was blacked out. The top and bottom were released, and they were declassified 10 days apart. The punchline: it was the same reviewer both times. I called him up. His name was on the document. "What were you thinking?" I asked. And he says, "Well there was probably something in the Washington Post that was sensitive about Libya the first week, so I had to cut that paragraph out. But the next week it wasn't Libya, it was the Saudis or something, so I had to cut that paragraph out."

Absolutely not suprising. What's this from?

It was redacted by U.S. Attorney General William Barr who reports to the President.

Who was hired after Trump fired the last AG for recusing himself from this investigation.

Grand Jury info, investigative methods, info relevant to ongoing investigations, and executive privilege, although Barr said there was no Exec privilege invoked for this report.

Redactions will fall into several categories, including material that is relating to ongoing investigations, material that relates to methods or sources, grand jury material, and items that concerns unindicted persons of interests.

I assume that relevant agencies redact anything that could possibly compromise their field agents, informants, etc.

While specific agencies may be consulted and influence what is redacted, the AG is the individual tasked with actually blacking it out

Or protect the guilty.

It is decided by Attorney General Barr, a Trump appointee that has repeatedly demonstrated improper behavior with regards to this investigation.

For this reason, lawsuits will immediately follow unless he provides spotless justifications for each redaction (behind closed doors).

Page 59 has Trump Jr's interaction with Wikileaks. (67 in the pdf)

I thought the whole thing was redacted, but it's just getting hugged to death.

Is this from NBC or from the justice.gov server?

Edit: can confirm it's identical to the NBC mirror (can't confirm the justice.gov one as haven't finished downloading it yet)

I downloaded it from justice.gov

Can someone convert this into a Searchable PDF? Using OCR?


That contains both the original report and one I ran through ocrmypdf (version 6.1.2) from the Ubuntu 18.04 repo.

abcnews on their livefeed said they would be producing a searchable document

It says part I of II, is the second part located anywhere?

> FYI: Volume II starts on page 208

— psawaya https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19691575

Ah, thanks, I didn't see a table of contents for it so I figured it'd be a separate doc.

it starts at page 208.

Would love to see the traffic spike on this one!

report.pdf 21.12M 1.84MB/s eta 2m 18s

Seems to be handling it.

I meant # of views :)

Looks like they are using an Akamai CDN. In the response header... Server: AkamaiNetStorage

Is it me, or did this actually get removed from the front page? Perhaps anti-SPAM due to how fast it's rising?

Most likely it got flagged. Articles involving politics tend to get flagged on HN.

Is there anything we can do to have it reviewed? I fully understand HN's opposition to politics, specifically US politics.

But I think this is a decent exception as it's a report directly from the justice department, not some BS opinion article that could be written by a high schooler.

One could email the mods, but this seems to be a perfect example of the kind of thing that, while the discussion here might be good, is squarely within the “If they'd cover it on TV news, it's probably off-topic” rule, so I wouldn't have a strong expectation of a positive response.

OTOH, the mods definitely see the guidelines as just that, not rules, and might agree that this is worth protecting.

I wonder why some posts have "vouch" option, but this one doesn't. Seems like a good way to let the community disagree with flagged posts.

I believe "vouch" is only for comments, not the HN post itself.

No I think they are for posts too - I see it in new [1] at least...maybe it has to be [dead] for vouch?


I emailed the mods several hours ago. Respones are typically (though not always) within that timeframe.

At this writing, the post itself remains flagged.

The mods are usually pretty quick to review these things even before anyone asks. Also even though I don't think there's a way to tag people on HN, if you mention @dang , he usually shows up pretty quickly.

Seems like a possibility, but doesn't HN prominently show that an article is flagged or dead on the comments page? I don't see any indicator on this one.

It's still on the second page, so not flagged/dead in the sense that it's gone. I think the ranking algorithm looks at upvotes and number of flags and weights flags heavily enough that it can push it well off the front page even if it's still there.

Edit: Now it says "[flagged]" and is nowhere to be found.

Does this article meet conditions where flagging it actually justifies action? To me, I cannot see how it could.

It could upset some Republicans. HN at some point decided to hide any sort of controversial story.

It arguably doesn’t much matter in this case, where it’s hard not to hear about it in some way. In other cases, it strikes me as an abdication of responsibility.

Most recently, as but one example, when the tech community embarked on their ethics-in-astronomy harassment campaign against a female programmer: HN was one of the fora where this actually happened, but all submissions of stories on it, from reputable mainstream news sources, were quickly flagged into oblivion.

I didn't follow that particular story, but in all other cases I've seen, discussing those stories has just generated more shit posts. It's unreasonable to assume the next one will suddenly generate a calm and constructive discussion.

> It could upset some Republicans

I know they aren't representative of most republicans in general, but r/The_Donald is definitely not upset right now.

> Does this article meet conditions where flagging it actually justifies action?

HN is first and foremost community moderated: flagging it is action that affects ranking.

The official mods can negate or tweak community moderation effects, but there is no action from them necessary to give effect to flags.

I'm assuming it's automated so that after a certain number of flags it's removed for manual review. Whether it should or shouldn't be flagged is up to HN readers. Whether it stays is for the moderators.

Considering how many people I've seen on HN decry the Mueller investigation and claim everything coming from it is a hoax, I'm unfortunately not surprised that it would be immediately be flagged and taken down.

I flagged it and I'm quite convinced it is not. Being true is not enough to belong on HN. Americans always think their party politics are so dammed important.

Not just you, it's the next-to-bottom post on the front page for me. (it was #1 at the top 3 minutes after being posted)

Looks to be removed from mine as well.

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