In the past twenty-four hours, one court filing after another has made clear that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is just days away from making his big Trump-Russia move. First it was the reveal that Paul Manafort’s cooperation is about to pay off in a highly visible way (translation: major arrests) within ten days. Then it was the unintentional reveal that Julian Assange has already been criminally charged. Now all signs point to yet another major Trump-Russia plea deal.
Federal prosecutors working with Mueller have revealed that they’re in the process of negotiating a plea deal with alleged Russian spy Maria Butina, who is currently sitting in jail awaiting trial. She appears to have deep knowledge of the ties between the NRA, the Republican Party, and Russia, and she can presumably give up key leaders within all three of those entities. But what’s interesting here is the timing: prosecutors and Butina are jointly asking the judge for a two week delay before filing the details of their cooperation.
This comes just hours after Mueller and Paul Manafort jointly asked a judge for a ten day delay before revealing the details of Manafort’s cooperation. To be clear, if there simply weren’t anything to report yet, they’d have filed a status update in both these cases that said there wasn’t anything to report. Instead, in both cases, they’re basically saying “Yeah, we’ve got something important to tell you, your honor, but we can’t say it out loud for a few more days.”
The various aspects of the Trump-Russia criminal investigation have been gradually converging for some time. Now we have Paul Manafort’s cooperation, Maria Butina’s cooperation, and Julian Assange’s fugitive status all about to coalesce within days. We don’t know precisely what Mueller and his friends are about to do, but they’ve clearly lined everything up to come to a head within a very short window of time. Stay tuned.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report