On Tuesday, House Oversight Committee ranking member Elijah Cummings announced that a whistleblower had ratted out Michael Flynn in the Trump-Russia scandal. The story reveals that Flynn began trying to cash in on Russian sanctions literally the minute Donald Trump took office. But the bigger story here is that Cummings has been sitting on this information since the summer – and he’s just now gotten the okay from Special Counsel Robert Mueller to publicly expose it. This tells us a lot.
First, it confirms what we’ve already long suspected: the (non-corrupt) members of the House and Senate committees investigating the Trump-Russia scandal have indeed been coordinating with Mueller’s investigation all along. For whatever reason, Mueller didn’t want it to become public until right now, and Cummings went along with it. It’s not a coincidence that this revelation about Flynn is coming out just a few days after Flynn cut a plea deal.
In other words, even though Mueller has zero communication with the public, he has no problem with Congress putting pieces of evidence out there once he no longer needs to keep that evidence secret. In fact this helps Mueller’s cause. Strictly speaking, his job is to uncover all the crimes involved in the Trump-Russia scandal and legally prove them. But when it comes to the endgame of ousting Trump from office once he’s been proven guilty, that very much becomes a political process.
Robert Mueller will need the public to support him once he exposes Donald Trump as a proven criminal in the end. Impeachment doesn’t happen by magic wand; it’s ultimately a function of politicians bending to the will of the public. The more dirt that Congress wants to leak out about Trump and his associates ahead of time, the more clearly the public will understand just how traitorous this scandal is. Mueller’s decision to let this fairly major cat out of the bag is also a reminder of just how far his investigation has progressed. He no longer needs to keep everything close to the vest.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report