Here’s the truth about Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia grand juries

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Yesterday we saw quite a spectacle, even by Trump-Russia standards, when Randy Credico showed up with his emotional support dog and testified to a grand jury that Roger Stone had threatened to kidnap the dog if he testified. At this point we’ve grown accustomed to knowing just about every detail of the grand jury against Stone in real time, even though these things are supposed to be secret proceedings.

There’s a reason for that. Many of Roger Stone’s associates are unusual characters, whether it be Credico with his dog, Sam Nunberg with his cable news meltdowns, or Kristin Davis with her years-ago bust for running a prostitution ring. These are the people who have been called to testify against him, because they know his business. That’s created a circus atmosphere where a number of these witnesses have given strange performances for the TV cameras before and after their testimony. That’s been compounded by Stone’s Instagram posts alternately defending and attacking the witnesses, and of course his behind the scenes threats which have also become public. But none of this is remotely normal.

When grand jury proceedings were taking place against Michael Cohen recently, we learned very little about the process as it was going on, even though we all knew that Cohen was in the process of being indicted. We didn’t learn about things like the Allen Weisselberg and David Pecker plea deals until after Cohen pleaded guilty. If he had decided to hold out for a trial, we still might not know about these details. Back when grand juries were playing out against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, we heard very little about that process as well. In fact the media and the public didn’t even know Gates was being indicted.

We know that Roger Stone is close to getting popped for whatever he’s getting popped for, due to the unique nature of the cast of characters testifying against him, and due to Stone’s own surreal methods of public posturing. But the truth is, when it comes to the other criminal indictments being pursued by Robert Mueller, we generally have no idea what’s going on. We don’t know who the cases are against, and how far the grand jury proceedings have advanced. For the most part, Mueller can spring surprise indictments at any time without us knowing they were coming.

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