You know that phase of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation where he and his team were doing all their work behind the scenes, and it was difficult to gauge just what they were doing? Yeah, that’s finished now. Over the past week or so, we’ve learned that Mueller has a grand jury and it’s been sending out subpoenas. We’ve also learned that the FBI raided Paul Manafort’s home. Now Mueller has a new target in Donald Trump’s White House: everyone.
When word surfaced last night that the Congressional committees investigating Trump’s Russia scandal are seeking to interview Trump’s longtime personal secretary Rhona Graff, it was a hint at where Robert Mueller – who appears to be very much working hand in hand with those committees – was headed next. And sure enough, today comes word from the New York Times (link) that Mueller has reached the point where he’s targeting pretty much everyone in Trump’s orbit.
This will include the entirety of Trump’s White House senior staff, both the ones who are still on the job, and the many who have already quit or been fired. The NYT says Mueller is seeking to learn who has attended what meetings and what has been said to whom, and he wants the transcripts from all of the above. Now that he’s got everyone in Trump’s wake rattled by having busted down Manafort’s door, he’s moving in for the evidentiary kill. And things may be even further along than they seem.
The NYT didn’t mention as much, but legal experts have told me that when prosecutors and investigators begin demanding that documents be turned over (in this case the meeting transcripts), it’s often because they already have copies of those documents. Someone in the mix has already privately cut a deal and turned everything over. The documents are then requested in order to see who panics and begins destroying their own copies. That in and of itself is a crime that can then be leveraged to force them to flip on Trump.
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Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report