One of the easiest ways to catch a glimpse into the inner workings of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation is to take a look at the court documents he periodically files. The catch: sometimes those filings reveal things that he secretly did a long time ago. That’s the case with Mueller’s latest filings, which show that he’s been secretly seizing Trump-Russia bank accounts since last year.
Mueller seized bank accounts at three financial institutions just as he was indicting and arresting Paul Manafort last October, according to court records that Mueller just now filed. This seems logical, as Manafort has been charged with a series of financial crimes. But this is the first official confirmation that Mueller is indeed seizing bank accounts and financial assets of those he’s targeting with criminal charges in the Trump-Russia scandal.
Here’s the kicker: this was six months ago, and there’s a good chance that Mueller has since made moves on the financial assets of other Trump-Russia figures well. We just have no way of knowing who they might be. It’s taken half a year for us just to learn that Mueller seized Manafort’s bank accounts. For that matter, when Mueller arrested Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos last summer and quickly cut a plea deal with him, he managed to keep the entire thing a secret for four months before choosing to disclose it. So we don’t even know who else Mueller may have since arrested or flipped.
Robert Mueller periodically reminds us that he’s far, far ahead of where we think he is. The question may be why Mueller is choosing now to disclose that he went after Manafort’s money. This could be intended as a message to the next Trump-Russia figure he’s trying to pressure into a plea deal. It also opens the door to Mueller ultimately seizing Donald Trump’s financial assets if he can prove that Trump obtained the money through illegal means.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report