As the sitting “President” keeps sending increasingly frantic and unhinged tweets from his unsecured cell phone and news cycles are spinning out of control, filled with shocking revelations and crazy stories – such as the one about Roger Stone posting a picture of a judge with crosshairs behind her head on Instagram – it is getting harder and harder to keep track of the stories and developments that really matter.
In all of this, there is one man who is keeping his calm and composure and who is doggedly doing the job he was appointed to do: Robert S. Mueller III. Seemingly unperturbed by the whirlwind that surrounds him, the Special Counsel is carrying out his investigation, carefully and methodically, essentially using the same strategy he used in his successful takedown of the New York mob. He starts with the small fry, then systematically works his way up to the top.
The same pattern is becoming visible in the Russia investigation. The Mueller probe started out by scrutinizing the players involved in the early part of Trump’s presidential campaign, an effort that is described in Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury” as a bumbling team of amateurs trying – with limited success – to string along a reluctant, mostly uncooperative candidate.
Among the players in that part of the campaign were Flynn, Manafort, Michael Cohen, Roger Stone and quite a few other personages, all of whom have one thing in common: they have since come under criminal investigation and have either struck a cooperating plea deal with the Special Counsel, or have been sentenced in court to the full extent of the law. In Stone’s case, we are looking at an old confidant of Donald Trump who is about to go down either the one road or the other.
It seems very likely that the arrest of Roger Stone marked the end of Robert Mueller’s hunt for the people involved in the first and rather disorganized, chaotic part of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign – after all, there seems to be virtually no one left to scrutinize. The main indicator that the Special Counsel is now turning his attention towards the second phase of the campaign – which constituted a more organized effort that was run by more competent actors and ultimately led to Trump’s surprise election victory – is a news item that seems to have gotten lost among the loud and garish headlines.
It can be found in an article by British journalist Carole Cadwalladr that appeared in The Guardian on Sunday, February 17, which reveals that Robert Mueller has subpoenaed Brittany Kaiser, former business development director for Cambridge Analytica. Ms Kaiser, who is the second former employee of Cambridge Analytica to be questioned by the Special Counsel, is said to be voluntarily turning over documents that are expected to shed some light on the shady activities of the controversial data company and its involvement in the 2016 presidential campaign. This is definitely a storyline from the next phase of Robert Mueller’s investigation, which is shifting the focus onto a new set of actors and it is well worth following as it develops. So stay tuned.