Ever since news broke following the election that special counsel Robert Mueller was holding “dozens of sealed indictments,” a certain sense of anticipation has been hanging in the air.
As former deputy assistant attorney general and law professor Harry Litman writes in the Los Angeles Times, “there is good reason to expect one or more blockbuster developments in the next few weeks.”
But what exactly will that action look like? Litman offers several possibilities.
Having already done the legwork on the actual interference from Russia in the form of trolling, botting, and the hacking of the Democratic Party, Litman posits that Mueller is now deep into investigating people close to Team Trump.
“The upshot may be allegations of ‘collusion,'” Litman writes.
“The actual charges are likely to be one of three criminal conspiracies: violating federal election laws, violating computer laws, or soliciting or receiving something of value from a foreign government. Charges, in other words, that not even the most ardent Trump die-hard could trivialize. They bring with them the possibility that Mueller might opt to name President Trump himself as an unindicted co-conspirator.”
But the potential buildup to Trump himself would likely start lower down the rungs, with an indictment of radio personality and consummate conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi, who caused a stir last week when he mused that he indeed expected to be indicted.
Corsi may seem like small beer, Litman admits, but he’s a lot like flipping Rick Gates on the way to taking down Paul Manafort. And once you get to Manafort, you’re an arm’s length away from Donald Trump. Corsi is perhaps the gateway to longtime Trump ally Roger Stone, who rather famously predicted Clinton campaign chair John Podesta’s “time in the barrel” before his time in the barrel actually came, courtesy of a WikiLeaks dump of his hacked emails. Stone is a potential link between Trump and WikiLeaks and/or Russia.
Another point of intrigue: Mueller asked for a 10-day extension from a D.C. court on a status report about Manafort’s cooperation in the overall investigation. That special counsel request noted the soon-to-be-submitted update would “be of greater assistance” in helping the court decide how helpful Manafort had proven to be, and therefore what sentence would be appropriate.
Mueller’s request strongly suggests that we’ll soon see important additional information bearing on the value of Manafort’s cooperation, up to and including a potential role as a key witness in a soon-to-be-unveiled criminal case.
Manafort would, of course, have been in a position to know about the potential nefarious activities of any of the campaign’s inner circle, including Don Jr., Jared Kushner, or even Trump.
One other informant for whom Mueller is scheduled to file a pre-sentencing status update on Dec. 4 is former national security adviser Michael Flynn. “That they are now prepared to close the books suggests that they will be informing the court, and thus the public, of the full extent of his cooperation, including imminent new charges or charges that have been filed under seal,” writes Litman.
While it’s quite possible that Mueller’s work is far from over, what Litman does believe is, by year’s end, the public will have the basic outlines of the scope of Mueller’s inquiry and who’s in his sights.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.