For the past month we’ve all been left to ask why the FBI raid of Michael Cohen’s home and office was overseen by the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York, and not by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. We still don’t have that answer for certain, but we do know that Mueller didn’t farm out the entire Cohen investigation to SDNY. In fact Mueller has a grand jury going against Cohen, and he’s hauling in a witness that ties Cohen to Russia.
Last year we learned about the “Ukrainian peace plan” which was allegedly cooked up by Michael Cohen and pro-Kremlin entities, and placed on Michael Flynn’s desk just before he was forced to resign for other scandalous reasons. The one-sided plan would have involved Donald Trump helping to oust the current leader of Ukraine so the Kremlin could install its own puppet, and the document was largely seen as Vladimir Putin sending instructions to his puppet Donald Trump. Even after the story faded from the headlines, it turns out Mueller didn’t forget about it. In fact it’s become front and center behind the scenes.
Andrii Artemenko, the Ukrainian politician who was in on the pro-Kremlin “peace plan,” now says that he’ll be testifying before Robert Mueller’s grand jury this week. This matters for two reasons. The first is that it means Mueller sees the “peace plan” as a criminal plot. The second is that, with Flynn having already cut a plea deal, this means Cohen has to be the grand jury target here.
Grand juries and the legal process work at their own unique speed, so we’ll see how quickly this progresses. But statistics show that federal grand juries return indictments far greater than 99% of the time, and indictments mean arrests. So this tells us that Robert Mueller is on a path to arresting Michael Cohen. We all knew that was probably coming eventually, but this suggests that the path is a more direct one than we thought. It also means Cohen has to rather quickly decide whether to cut a plea deal before he’s arrested.
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Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report