An interesting leak dripped from the depths of Robert Mueller’s probe of the Trump-Russia affair.
The Washington Post reported last night that Mueller told Donald Trump’s lawyers that he is not an “active” criminal target of his investigation, but rather a subject of the investigation, that his behavior is under scrutiny particularly regarding his conduct surrounding the obstruction of justice part of the probe.
Legal experts have analyzed this development and come to the conclusion that it isn’t a particularly meaningful development. “Subjects” of “investigations” can easily become “targets” and in this particular case it seems like there is a lot more evidence that Mueller needs to sift through in order to make that distinction. But it’s also not hard to see how Trump could become one.
If he sits for an interview with Mueller which he has wanted to do for some time, a desire that may or may not have resulted in the resignation of John Dowd, then it would only take one false statement from that serial liar before he found himself in legal jeopardy. Ironically, telling the truth about his role in the Russia part of this investigation or the obstruction part of it could also make him a target.
With all of that said, there’s another angle here, one that I could be misreading, but one which has very important implications. It has to do with Paul Manafort.
If Trump figures, hey, Mueller said I’m not a target of the investigation, if I maintain the status quo, don’t do anything stupid like pardon Manafort, then I should be golden. That puts pressure on Manafort to flip. It seems that Mueller has known for a very long time that Manafort is a critical piece of the puzzle. He, after all, is the most likely witness to flip and tell authorities what happened in that infamous Trump Tower meeting.
Rick Gates undoubtedly has a lot of dirt, but is it enough that the prosecution doesn’t need Manafort to put Trump and the rest of his mob family away? It’s unclear. A recent subpoena of the Trump Organization indicates that Mueller might know where the bodies are buried, but this doesn’t tell us anything about Trump’s status in the investigation. Frankly, with the exception of Jared Kushner (Michael Flynn was in several sensitive meetings with him) and Jeff Sessions (George Papadopoulos) and of course Gates putting the final nail in Manafort’s legal coffin, we don’t have any intuition that any of these guilty pleas would impact Trump or anyone else in the investigation directly. A Manafort flip would tell us that Trump is in deep shit, one would be more pressured by this recent leak.
The other side of this that’s important to consider is the “savior” side. Many people are assuming that Mueller will be a “savior” that he will swoop in and save us from this political Frankenstein. He could do that, but this leak could have more truth in it then one would assume.
What if he doesn’t find anything on Trump? What if he doesn’t find anything on anyone else? It’s unlikely, but don’t discount that possibility. The investigation could be concluded today and a report issued stating that everything they’ve found so far represents the end of the trail. Would you be ok with that?
Legally, I know I would. It’s apparent that this is one of the best investigative and legal teams assembled in history. I trust them to do their job completely, whatever it is. There should be no blaming Mueller for leaving stones unturned in this investigation.
He has done his job. He continues to do his job. It is our job to vote this bastard and all of his enabling cronies out of office. There are legal remedies to the removal of these individuals from power, but that should be left to law enforcement. If they don’t bring criminal charges, just remember that there are 216 days until Election Day 2018 and that day represents a grand opportunity to remove these mobsters from elected office.