It’s a perfectly solid question, given all we’ve seen go down over the past couple of weeks.
Some who are eagerly watching the slow-motion rollout of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe are recommending you buy into popcorn stocks, because this one could be a nail biter.
In recent days, what we’ve seen from special counsel is new charges of lying to federal authorities included in a court filing, in regards to the man considered to be key to the entire probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election – Paul Manafort.
We’ve seen reports that Manafort has made visits to Julian Assange, the exiled boss of WikiLeaks, and that these meetings in the Ecuadorean embassy occurred just before Manafort stepped into the role of chairman of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, and several months before WikiLeaks dumped a trove of damaging DNC emails, which had been hacked by Russian intelligence agents.
All of these things and more, coming in a year-end rush, could very well be signaling Mueller’s endgame. They could also be leading up to some major indictments being handed down, shortly, according to Garrett M. Graff, a former FBI director and author, who has been closely watching Mueller’s activity.
Graff points out six “to-watch” items to Axios:
Mueller is tightening the screws on Jerome Corsi, a friend of former Trump adviser Roger Stone. A plea deal — or charges — appear imminent.
Corsi, a conspiracy theorist and frequent guest of InfoWars, has said in recent days that he feels he’ll be indicted, but is holding out, saying Mueller’s team want him to “lie” for a plea agreement.
I doubt very seriously they need him to lie. If they’re allowing him a chance to make a plea, they already have enough.
Ecuador may be moving toward turning over WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The government removed its Assange-backing U.K. ambassador last week, and has prohibited his lawyers from meeting with him. The report yesterday by The Guardian that Assange and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort may have met repeatedly — denied by Manafort and Assange — raises the stakes dramatically.
A week or two back, news broke that the United States has prepared charges against Assange. He’s hid behind the walls of the Ecuadorean embassy since 2010, fearing extradition, but the time is now. His hosts are tired of him, and they’re telling what they know – like who his visitors have been.
There was a lot of talk of Russian officials and their interest in buying into the NRA. Butina was a particularly curious part of that, and her story is a bit sordid, so the results of this plea deal could shine an ugly light on the avenues Russia used to reach into American politics.
Russian spy and NRA superfan Maria Butina is reported to be in talks for a plea deal.
A number of Mueller’s prosecutors were hard at work on Veterans Day —when Michael Cohen took the train to Washington to talk to Mueller’s team.
As we’ve often discussed, Cohen is the man who would know best the dirty behind-the-scenes dealings of Donald Trump. He was his personal attorney and “fixer” for a decade, and his uncommon loyalty was not mutual. Tales of Trump’s disregard, disrespect, and often scorn towards Cohen abound.
He finally had enough, and when he flipped, he flipped hard.
ABC News reported an “unusually high” number — nearly three dozen, in fact — of sealed indictments filed over the course of the year in D.C. Fourteen of those have been added since August, a period when Mueller’s investigation was publicly quiet.
And that is the essence of Mueller’s investigation, throughout. He’s not furiously tweeting his every emotional breakdown for the world to see. Whatever cards the special counsel holds, they’re being held close. We know what’s up when another indictment is handed down, or more court papers are filed, but nothing more.
Mueller, unlike Trump, is a professional, with impeccable credentials, built up by his own character. His daddy’s money didn’t pave the way for him, whether it was keeping him out of Vietnam (he served, honorably), or getting through law school.
And this big one: President Trump last week finally turned in long-awaited written answers to Mueller’s investigators. His story — or at least a version of it — is now locked in. By doing so, Trump tacitly acknowledged Mueller’s authority, despite tweeting last night: “The Mueller Witch Hunt is a total disgrace.”
Graff points out that Mueller laid low, waited to get Trump’s answers locked in, then dropped the news that Manafort would be charged with violating the plea agreement and lying to federal investigators.
Some have suggested that if it Trump’s answers were reliant on whatever Manafort was giving investigators, then he may very well have perjured himself.
While most everyone believes Trump’s attorneys were responsible for answering the written questions, Trump has loudly proclaimed that he answered them all, himself.
Hang on to that.
On Tuesday, news reports emerged that part of what has Manafort in more hot water, now, is that he has been sharing with Trump’s attorneys the questions those federal investigators have been asking him.
In other words, they thought they were gaming special counsel with inside information, but Mueller was several steps ahead of them. He waited until he got those sworn answers, before making a move.
Do you want to know why Trump is tweeting out particularly frantic, unhinged rants, this week?