It’s been more than a month since Special Counsel Robert Mueller cut a plea deal with Michael Flynn. That deal was so lenient, with all but the lowest charge set aside, it’s clear that Flynn demonstrated to Mueller that he has evidence sufficient to use against bigger fish. We don’t know for sure who that fish is, but various circumstances suggest that Mueller is using the Flynn deal to target Kushner. So why doesn’t Mueller just handcuff Kushner, or whoever the current target is, and get it over with?
The short answer: such an arrest would mean failure. Mueller’s probe isn’t an investigation into what Jared Kushner, or Michael Flynn, or Paul Manafort did. Sure, their activities are part of it. But this is an investigation into the role that Donald Trump played in the Russian election conspiracy. If Mueller has to arrest Kushner, it’ll be because Kushner has dug in his heels and decided to fight whatever charges might end up being brought against him. If that’s the case, then Mueller won’t get anything useful out of Kushner until at least after it goes to trial in six months or more. Even then, Mueller may never get anything out of him.
Mueller began by arresting Paul Manafort because he knew that Manafort would try to use his limitless cash and fancy lawyers to fight the charges in court. There was no chance of getting Manafort to agree to a deal anyway, so Mueller popped him in order to scare others into cutting deals. Sure enough, Flynn took a look at his own empty bank account and realized he could’t afford the kind of lawyers that get people off on technicalities and such, so he cut a deal.
Now Robert Mueller has enough from Michael Flynn to make the kind of bulletproof case against Jared Kushner (or whoever the current big-fish target is, if not Kushner) that even fancy lawyers can’t succeed in fighting. Mueller is surely trying to pressure that person into cutting a deal as we speak, and if it takes time so be it, because a deal will move things along much further than an arrest and trial. And if you think Kushner will never cut a deal against his own father-in-law, consider that most people thought Flynn would never cut a deal against his beloved Trump either.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report