It’s been famously said that Special Counsel Robert Mueller loves surprises. He likes to catch his suspects and subjects off guard by taking actions they never saw coming. That’s led many to ask if Mueller might be planning a holiday surprise in the Trump-Russia scandal, while everyone involved is distracted. So it’s notable that the FBI just raided a home in Northern Virginia this evening.
Thus far we only know a handful of details: the FBI raid definitely happened, and it took place in Sterling, Virginia. Donald Trump does own a golf course in that town, but the local TV affiliate is reporting that it took place in a residential area, which rules out the golf course (link). The FBI has previously raided Paul Manafort’s home in Northern Virginia, but that’s in Alexandria, not in Sterling. Michael Flynn also has a home in Northern Virginia, but it’s also in Alexandria, and it’s unlikely his home would be raided after he cut a plea deal. So what’s going on?
To be clear, this could be entirely coincidental, and it may have nothing to do with the Trump-Russia scandal. The FBI certainly has plenty of other business to conduct beyond exposing the crimes of Donald Trump and his associates. But it is worth noting that Mueller has run a portion of his investigation out of the federal court district in Virginia which has jurisdiction over this area. In addition, a number of political figures in Washington DC have homes in northern Virginia.
So will this turn out to be something or nothing? We may not know for some time. In addition to loving surprises, Robert Mueller also loves secrecy. So if this is about Trump-Russia, it’s entirely possible the FBI could leak a cover story to try to distract from it. After all, we didn’t learn about the raid of Manafort’s house, or the arrest of George Papadopoulos, until long after they took place.
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Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report