Axios reports, based on sources in the Trump administration, that they fear Special Counsel Robert Mueller is “going in for the kill,” especially in regard to obstruction of justice and possible financial crimes carried out by Trump associates and campaign officials.
Republicans close to the White House say every sign by Mueller — from his hiring of Mafia and money-laundering experts to his aggressive pursuit of witnesses and evidence — is that he’s going for the kill.
- Mueller is burrowing in hard on the obstruction of justice angle.
- The “angry, meandering” draft White House justification for firing Comey — which was never released, but obtained by Mueller — could be used as evidence of Trump’s unvarnished thinking when venting to staff.
- Legal fees, with white-collar attorneys charging $1,000 an hour, get cripplingly expensive pretty quick. Watch for outside legal defense funds to pop up quickly.
- The investigation’s financial dimensions are worrisome. The focus on Michael Cohen, a Trump lawyer and confidant whose business dealings are intertwined with the president’s, has been particularly troubling for those in Trump’s close orbit. Cohen dealt with some colorful characters. And when plans for the Trump Tower in Moscow are fully picked apart, other questionable Russian characters may be drawn in.
This is why I said it was important that Mueller was hiring investigators with a background in prosecuting financial crimes and was working with the IRS’ special unit that focuses on tax fraud. That’s where the most likely crimes are to be found, not only by Trump but especially by Manafort and Flynn. That in turn gives them huge leverage over those two men to spill the beans on Trump. That’s the pressure point they seem to be going after, as any smart prosecutor would.