The ubiquitous question continues: ‘When does the Mueller Special Counsel operation come to a close?’
Well, that may be answered, in part, by the resignation of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
President Trump chose William Barr to be the next Attorney General, leading the Department of Justice after the termination of AG Jeff Sessions. The Senate confirmation hearing for Barr is scheduled for the week of January 15. After Barr is confirmed, he will likely choose his own Deputy AG for confirmation.
Rosenstein was the overseer of the Mueller team’s work where criminal charges were produced against 33 individuals—26 of whom are Russian—and has secured guilty pleas or convictions of seven people. It has been suggested that Rosenstein would not have resigned without some end in the Mueller investigation process. Confirmation of that is the fact that Rosenstein is not leaving until the final Mueller report.
In fairness, Rosenstein’s only assignment was not just managing the Mueller team. He worked on cases involving government agencies, corporate malfeasance and foreign bribery. Even so, the Mueller grand jury availability was only renewed for another 6 months, which appears to override other considerations.
From a wide view, all legal lanes have been exploited with regard to the Trump Russia collusion investigation. Thus far, the nearest touch to any part of Donald Trump has been Paul Manafort. Manafort presently sits in jail awaiting sentencing.
There are clues and indications that the existing charges against Manafort, for which he was found guilty, are the last of them. Although, additional facts are on the table. According to recent Special Counsel disclosures:
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team suspects that Paul Manafort, the onetime Trump campaign chairman, shared polling data on the 2016 election with an associate tied to Russian intelligence and lied about it, according to a court filing by Manafort’s lawyers.
The filing was badly redacted, allowing an unintended glimpse at previously undisclosed areas of Mueller’s investigation into whether Donald Trump’s presidential campaign worked with Russia to influence the election. Those areas included the polling data as well as a meeting in Madrid and discussions of a Ukrainian peace plan.
So, is it a wrap? Yes, considering that most recent Russia-related charge is a separate case involving the Russian lawyer, Natalya Veselnitskaya. She attended that pesky meeting at Trump Tower. Veselnitskaya was charged with obstruction of justicewhich is connected to a money-laundering case by a New York prosecutor.
It should be a wrap because Mueller is not part of that case and the New York office adding the additional charge to a Russian that will never be extradited is merely a legal gesture for the record. The obstruction charge is not related to the Trump Tower meeting or to Trump and his business or campaign team.
So, after spending through December of 2017, $25 million on the Mueller investigation, what have we learned?
We learned that some rogue people inside our government, outside our government and in the foreign realm did some objectionable and repugnant things, however not all have felt legal/criminal consequences as of yet. That chapter remains to be written in perhaps another book. That chapter would include key operatives at the FBI, Department of Justice and in political operations.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee under new Democrat leadership has pledged to keep the Trump collusion candle burning. Meanwhile the John Huber investigation of all things Hillary and Russia continues, or so we are told. House Republicans are demanding an update from Huber. As for the Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker, he knows that status but has yet to be forthcoming on details.
In other words, stay tuned, although the end is getting closer.
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