Some were expecting Special Counsel Robert Mueller to try to lull Donald Trump into a false sense of security so he could feel comfortable heading into their upcoming interview. Based on the events of the past few days, it’s clear that Mueller is going in the opposite direction. He’s suddenly putting so many cards on the table, it’s fair to say that he’s outright taunting Trump ahead of their interview. There’s a reason for this, and it reveals a lot about the state of the criminal case against Trump.
In the past few days we’ve learned that everyone from Attorney General Jeff Sessions to CIA Director Mike Pompeo to former FBI Director James Comey to former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates has been interviewed by Mueller. Some of these interviews took place last week, some of them last year, but they’re all hitting the headlines right now. That’s not a coincidence. In fact, the interviews with people like Yates and Comey could not be leaking unless Mueller wanted them out there. So it’s fair to assume that all of these interviews are being leaked by Mueller right now. But why?
This news is certainly making the Resistance feel good about where things are headed. But Mueller is a prosecutor, not a pep rally leader. In fact Mueller usually prefers to remain quiet. He likes to surprise the people he’s targeting. So why is he suddenly taunting Trump by revealing just how much damning evidence and testimony he’s amassed, even as he’s demanding that Trump sit with him for an interview? That appears to be the point.
Robert Mueller has concluded, for whatever reason, that Donald Trump is going to have to grant him the interview no matter what. Instead of trying to get Trump to let his guard down, he’s trying to make sure Trump is rattled heading into the interview. Is he trying to goad Trump into defensively blabbing during the interview? Is he trying to bait Trump into tweeting something incriminating ahead of the interview? Only Mueller knows for sure. But we do know that Mueller now wants Trump as rattled as possible. The stakes just got even higher.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report