The Mueller report was finally released to the public today and while it had a number of very interesting revelations, it also contained some heavy redactions, including some pages that were almost completely blacked out. These redactions were justified on the basis that whatever information they were covering up could cause "harm to ongoing matter."
The internet was quick to pick up the phrase and run with it, deciding that "harm to ongoing matter" was a really great band name in addition to a tactic used by the attorney general's office to keep important information confidential. And thus a meme was born.
So what exactly does "harm to ongoing matter" refer? Well, quite literally it's a catch all phrase denoting that these parts of the report are blacked out because making them public could/would harm these other "ongoing matters." And what are those ongoing matters? Good question!
Last week Attorney General William Barr said he would redact four types of information from the report: grand jury information, classified information, information related to ongoing investigations, and information that would infringe on the privacy of “peripheral third parties.” Anything that falls into one of these categories could be considered an "ongoing matter" that could be "harmed."
Speculation abounds that the redactions are covering information that would prove collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia: Syracuse.com notes that the Mueller report is most heavily redacted in the first section "which covers Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and examines contacts between Russian representatives and the Trump campaign." But we may never know! So for the time being, please enjoy some of our favorite, not at all harmful, tweets.
HARM TO ONGOING MATTER: the poem— Matt Gallagher (@MattGallagher0) April 18, 2019
HARM TO ONGOING MATTER: the book
HARM TO ONGOING MATTER: the band
HARM TO ONGOING MATTER: the musical
HARM TO ONGOING MATTER: the existential philosophy
HARM TO ONGOING MATTER: the Guy Fieri restaurant