Special Counsel Robert Mueller has never publicly spoken about his investigation into Donald Trump’s Russia scandal. We’ve been left to study his publicly visible moves, from whom he’s hired to whom he’s arrested, in order to try to piece together his overall gameplan. That’s still left things a bit fuzzy, which is the entire point: if we can’t predict Mueller’s next move, neither can Trump or his people. But Mueller’s latest move just changed everything, and it can only mean one thing.
When Mueller was first appointed, he quickly hired more than a dozen prosecutors (not investigators but prosecutors) for his legal team. They each had a strong background in a different area. This tipped off early on that he would be focused on money laundering, witness flipping, and various other specifics. Now we’re learning that Mueller has belatedly added one more prosecutor, Ryan Dickey, to the team. His specialty according to the Washington Post (link): cyber crimes. Remarkably, none of Mueller’s existing prosecutors had that specialty. In other words, something just changed.
This can’t simply be about Russian hackers. For one thing, we’ve all known (and thus Mueller has known) from the start that Russian hackers targeted the 2016 election. If this were about trying to prosecute the Russians for cyber crimes, he would have hired a cyber crimes expert back when he initially hired everyone else. This means that Mueller has recently come across new evidence of cyber crimes committed by Donald Trump’s side.
The WaPo report says that Robert Mueller made this new hire in early November. This would have been just days after Mueller cut a plea deal with Michael Flynn, who must have given him comprehensive evidence against bigger fish in return. Did Flynn give Mueller evidence that Donald Trump’s top campaign people were hacking the election? We’ve also seen Steve Bannon, who was deeply involved with Trump voter data firm Cambridge Analytica, acrimoniously split with Trump in recent days. Did Bannon cut a deal back in November? In any case, this can only mean that Mueller now plans to prosecute Trump’s people for cyber crimes.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report