Ty Cobb, Donald Trump’s personal attorney and Snidely Whiplash cosplayer, has been doing his best to calm down Trump by telling him that the Russia investigation is going to end soon. The problem is, Cobb has been saying this since last fall.
“It is my hope and expectation that shortly after Thanksgiving, all the White House interviews will be concluded,” Cobb told CNN, and The Washington Post reports that he’s telling West Wing staffers that the investigation overall will conclude soon, exonerating President Trump.
Unfortunately for Trump, only the turkeys got a break at Thanksgiving. And Christmas only left him coal in his stocking. And he had to sing Auld Lang Syne while the investigation could not be forgot and never brought to mind.
Despite Cobb’s words of comfort, Mueller has recently hired a new member for his team, and continues to line up interviews. In fact, the done-by-Turkey-Day prediction came before Mueller made a deal with Michael Flynn that excused the former national security adviser from multiple charges of illegal foreign lobbying, failure to report hundreds of thousands in foreign funds, and that little plot to use the U.S. government to kidnap a cleric so Flynn could collect a $15 million payday. Letting Flynn and his son slide on all of that is something of a big hint that Mueller obtained some information in return.
Now, in addition to Mueller bringing former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon in to be deposed in front of a grand jury, there are other clear signs that things are not going to wrap up soon.
In an ominous development for Republicans, a federal judge overseeing the upcoming trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates rejected Mueller’s request to begin in May and instead outlined a scheduled start as soon as September or October — peak election season.
In the middle of the midterm elections, what Americans will be hearing about every day is how Donald Trump’s former campaign chair is being tried for money laundering and acting as an unregistered agent for pro-Russian forces. And that’s the best Trump can hope for.
It’s barely possible that Robert Mueller could decide to go ahead with providing a final report to the DOJ with Manafort and Gates still hanging. But since Mueller just added a cybersecurity expert to his team and there are as yet no charges resulting from the information brought in by the deals with either George Papadopoulos or Michael Flynn … Republicans had better not count on it.
Few observers believe Mueller is finished bringing criminal charges. The special counsel so far has kept under wraps any criminal charges until they’ve been filed, leaving Republicans nervous about the prospect that new indictments could land without warning against top Trump associates just as voters are making their decisions.
It also seems clear that Mueller wants to talk with Trump—a meeting that Trump agreed to, backed away from, then said he didn’t think would be necessary. The fact that Mueller bypassed asking Steve Bannon for an interview and went straight to subpoenaing him to appear before the grand jury may have been done at least in part as a signal to Trump that he should take an interview if it is offered.
The prospect that Mueller will still be going strong when the election rolls around means that Republicans will be answering questions about their support for Trump. And even more importantly, it means that the people who do receive Mueller’s final report may not be Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell.