During the course of the federal investigation into Michael Cohen, Palmer Report took some heat for referring to it as a Robert Mueller investigation, even though it was technically being run by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. But there was a reason we phrased it that way: there was never any question that Mueller was pulling the strings of that investigation the entire time. Now it turns out this is far from the only outsourcing move that Mueller has successfully used as part of his overall Trump-Russia probe.
Today a Republican operative named Samuel Patten cut a plea deal on various Trump-Russia charges that had been brought against him by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Washington DC. He also agreed to cooperate with Robert Mueller. This shouldn’t come as a surprise; we also learned today that it was Mueller who originated the investigation into Patten, and that he was the one who had referred it to the U.S. Attorney to begin with.
Robert Mueller hasn’t been handing these cases off in order to rid himself of them. He’s been doing it because he wants these cases to circle back and pay off in his favor. By putting these sideshow cases in the hands of other people, it sets things up so Donald Trump can’t make it all go away simply by firing one person. It also allows more cases to move forward simultaneously by spreading out the workload and focus. It’s now clear that Mueller’s intent with all of these cases is that they boomerang back to him once they’ve been resolved.
Recently we learned that even after Robert Mueller handed off the Michael Cohen case to SDNY, he was continuing to use his own Trump-Russia interviews to focus heavily on Cohen’s actions within the Trump Organization. It’s clear that Mueller was never really giving up the Cohen case; he was simply outsourcing one part of it. Now Cohen has pleaded guilty, named Trump as an unindicted co-conspirator, and is supposedly willing to give Mueller all the help he wants. This outsourcing is paying off in spades.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report