To put it more politely (and I believe you all know by now that I am nothing if not PC), it may be about time for the … excrement to collide with the wind producing device.
Reports today seem to indicate, with even more of a sense of certainty, that the Mueller report may be issued within the next week or so. There have been reports out since earlier in January that the Mueller investigation may be concluding as early as mid-February. I have to admit personal skepticism on that for a number of reasons.
- All along, we have received extremely little information from the Special Counsel’s team other than when indictments were issued. So, what and when they were going to do anything has always been at best a guessing game.
- All of the official transcripts that Mueller finally got from the Democratic controlled House certainly seemed to indicate that there was a high probability that there would be further indictments for lying to Congress.
- Roger Stone’s indictment seemed pretty superficial at best and all the documents that the FBI seized certainly should take some time to review.
- Back in January, the term of Mueller’s Grand Jury was extended by up to six months. Why do that if you didn’t intend on using it?
- There have been hints in many of the indictments that there were other unnamed U.S. individuals involved who have not yet been indicted. For example, no one has yet been indicted for anything related to conspiracy and it certainly seems that there have been more than enough hints that those unnamed individuals were either knowingly or unknowingly involved in conspiracy with the Russians.
- Why express any concern about the meeting between Manafort, Gates and Kilimnik at that cigar club and then do nothing about it? I strongly doubt that it was done only to show proof that Manafort was lying.
But today’s reports seem to have a bit more corroborating circumstantial evidence that Mueller’s investigation may actually be coming to a close.
- There are reports that some of the lawyers assigned to the Special Counsel’s team have been leaving.
- There have been boxes of documents seen to be transported away from the Special Counsel’s offices.
- The Grand Jury empaneled by Mueller has reportedly not been in session since late in January.
That is all interesting circumstantial evidence. It also does dovetail with the generally credible reporting done by the MSNBC reporter, Ken Delanian, who I believe originally predicted the release of the Mueller report last month.
While I have been loath to get into the predictions game, I am going to go out on a limb this time and give my prediction as to what may take place in the next couple of weeks.
What might precede the release of the Mueller report?
If the Mueller Report is issued soon (and I still think that is a big IF), then here is what I think will immediately precede it …
- A superseding indictment will be issued against Roger Stone which will be the first to allege conspiracy with WikiLeaks and, by extension, the Russians.
- Don Jr. will be indicted for lying to Congress. I think Mueller needed the official House testimony of Don and others in order to indict them for lying.
- Mueller apparently has had the unofficial transcripts of Donny’s testimony for some time so he no doubt knew that Donny Jr. lied, and has been prepared to indict, but he needed the official transcripts to go forward. So he was ready to go.
- This is the indictment that Mueller had to have imagined was the one that would quite literally cause the SHTF. That also would explain why he has waited so long to issue this particular indictment.
- If the unnamed individual who was referenced in the original indictment of the 34 Russians and 3 Russian entities is NOT Roger Stone, then that individual will also be indicted for conspiracy in addition to Stone.
- Other indictments for lying to Congress may be issued against other characters, like Jared and Betsy Devos’s brother Erik Prince.
What will the report NOT indicate?
- I don’t see Mueller indicting the President. That would generate immediate legal delays since while it is not technically prohibited by law, it is against Department of Justice policy. I don’t think Mueller wants to let things get bogged down by something that is in some ways peripheral to the real investigation.
- By the way, did you see the report on this Justice Department policy against indicting a sitting President? One of the men involved in writing that policy says that the part about not indicting a sitting President was simply thrown in as an appeasement so that they COULD indict a sitting Vice President – Spiro Agnew.
What WILL the report recommend?
Conspiracy to influence the 2016 Presidential campaign.
- I think Mueller will lay out the case that clearly identifies many things that show that the Trump campaign conspired with WikiLeaks and the Russians to affect the outcome of the 2016 Presidential campaign, and Mueller will recommend that the conspiracy be forwarded to Congress.
Obstruction of Justice.
- I think he will lay out reams of evidence that identifies how Trump has consistently and repeatedly attempted to obstruct justice going all the way back to the firing of James Comey and continuing on right up to the present. He will recommend that this too be forwarded to Congress.
Conspiracy to remove Russian sanctions.
- I think that there is also the possibility that Mueller will outline how the Trump campaign has worked repeatedly to try and remove sanctions from Russia as the quid quo pro for Russia’s assistance in trying to get Trump elected. If this is done, then I would think that will also be recommended to be forwarded to Congress.
Those are some of the things that I envision if Mueller does indeed release his report soon.
However, I still think that there is at least the possibility that the release of the report may not yet be that close. For all of the reasons I listed earlier, it just seems like there is too much left which is fodder for further Mueller indictments.
As far as some of that “circumstantial evidence” regarding Mueller’s team, Mueller has had a group of up to 17 prosecutors working for him. If things are winding down to the final few indictments, it would be understandable for at least some of those 17 to no longer be needed. That in itself does not necessarily indicate that Mueller’s team is yet finished.
When sent to Attorney General William Barr, will Barr give the report to Congress?
If Mueller’s report does recommend charges to be reported to Congress, I don’t see how Barr can successfully prevent the Congress, and eventually the public, from seeing at least a minimally redacted version of the report.
- Barr may and likely will attempt to water the Mueller report down with his own report since he is not technically required to provide Mueller’s actual, confidential report to Congress.
If Barr tries to do that, I think it will quickly enrage members of the Democratic Congress, and likely the public as well, who will no doubt equate it to Nixon trying to provide personally edited transcripts of his infamous tapes before he was eventually forced by the Supreme Court to release the actual tapes.
I could easily see Congress subpoenaing Robert Mueller to publicly testify if Barr’s version of the report is not considered sufficient.