Now that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has arrested three people in Donald Trump’s Russia scandal and obtained a guilty plea from one of them, everyone is asking the same question: who’s next? Mueller continues to play his cards close to the vest, but publicly available federal court records are providing a big hint as far as what’s about to come next – and now a renowned legal expert has posted an interpretation of those records similar to our own.
On Tuesday, Palmer Report pointed to a slew of sealed items which have been posted in the past week to the schedule for the U.S. District Court in Washington DC. This is the court where Mueller has been primarily conducting his Trump-Russia cases. Based on the manner in which the case numbers are bunched together, we came to the conclusion that these dozens of charges were against seven different people (link).
Several people across social media have interpreted these sealed items as each being a separate indictment against a separate individual, meaning that dozens of people would be facing arrest. However, Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Benjamin Wittes tweeted this on Wednesday (link): “there are NOT 33 sealed indictments on the docket at the U.S. District Court in D.C. I spent some time looking at the docket this evening. People are confusing indictments with cases before magistrate judges. By my count, there appear to be seven sealed cases whose docket numbers suggest they post-date the charges against Papadopoulos.”
In other words, Wittes is interpreting the court records as showing seven indictments, just as we have. To be clear, Wittes did not explicitly state whether he believes all of these sealed items are part of the Trump-Russia scandal. However we’ve spoken with a legal expert who told us it’s fairly rare to see as much as one sealed item added to the DC schedule in any given week. Thus it’s likely all seven are Trump-Russia people. Throw in Mueller’s separate pursuit of Michael Flynn (and presumably Michael Flynn Jr) in Virginia, and we could be looking at eight or nine arrests in total. Mueller can make these arrests any time he chooses.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report