Thus far Special Counsel Robert Mueller has arrested four people in Donald Trump’s Russia scandal, and he’s taken a different approach with each. One of Mueller’s former colleagues famously said that Mueller likes surprises in order to keep everyone involved off guard. However, I do believe I’ve found a definitive pattern when it comes to which Trump-Russia players he’s looking to arrest and prosecute, and which ones he’s merely looking to grill for information. Moreover, that pattern points to who’s about to get arrested next.
Mueller has taken a different approach with each of his four arrestees thus far. He raided Paul Manafort’s house to try to scare him into cutting a deal. He snuck up on George Papadopoulos in an airport and cuffed him without warning. He used a softer touch in getting Michael Flynn to agree to surrender voluntarily and cut a deal. The pattern here is what Mueller didn’t do in each instance.
In the past months we’ve seen Mueller formally interview people like Sean Spicer, Reince Priebus, Hope Hicks, Don McGahn, and Stephen Miller. None of these people ended up being arrested, even though they could each theoretically get popped for conspiracy to obstruct justice or some other similar crime. When it comes to the four people Mueller has pursued criminally, as far as anyone knows he didn’t formally interview any of them first. He simply busted them.
So the pattern here is that if Robert Mueller makes a point of not interviewing someone, and he instead works around that person by interviewing everyone else in their circle, that’s the person he’s targeting for prosecution. Steve Bannon says he still hasn’t been interviewed by Mueller. The pattern suggests it’s because Mueller plans to arrest and charge Bannon. As far as we know Jared Kushner hasn’t been interviewed by Mueller either. Those are probably your next two arrests right there.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report