For the first year of the Trump-Russia investigation, Special Counsel Robert Mueller was only known to have given immunity to one person, an international political operative named George Nader. But now, over the past few weeks, Mueller has begun handing out immunity like candy, to people high and low. So why the sudden shift in strategy for Mueller, and what does it tell us about what’s really going on?
In the past few days we’ve learned that Robert Mueller has given immunity to National Enquirer executives David Pecker and Dylan Howard and longtime Trump Organization executive Allen Weisselberg. This clearly represents a fundamental shift in how Mueller is conducting business. He’s gone from giving immunity to virtually no one, to now giving immunity to someone new just about every day. There are few key things to keep in mind here.
The first is that when you’re probing a vast and complex criminal conspiracy, you can’t start handing out immunity too early, or else every potential cooperating witness will hold out for it. We all know Mueller is a smart and experienced prosecutor, so he knows how these things go. The fact that he’s begun handing out immunity like candy is a sign that he knows he’s pretty far down the road of his investigation, and he doesn’t have to worry about the precedent he’s now setting.
The second thing here is that we’re finally getting to the kind of witnesses who are worth giving immunity to, because what they’re sitting on is so valuable. Allen Weisselberg has had a front row seat to every financial crime Donald Trump has ever committed in his life, and surely has the receipts to prove it all. Pecker has the roadmap for all of Trump’s salacious scandals over the years. Mueller is giving them a free pass because these are the people who will take down the biggest fish – including Trump himself.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report