In the nearly three weeks since Donald Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort and campaign adviser Rick Gates were arrested for alleged crimes in relation to the Trump-Russia scandal, the public has been waiting for the next shoe to drop. Dozens of new sealed charges have appeared on the schedule in Robert Mueller’s favorite federal court in Washington DC, leaving everyone to guess who might get arrested next. What’s largely gone unreported is that Mueller already has a confirmed sealed indictment in place in relation to the Manafort and Gates arrests – and that indictment is probably against Trump himself.
Manafort and Gates were charged and arrested based on an indictment which was listed as “Indictment (B)” on the official court documents, which you can view here. By definition, this means there is also an “Indictment (A)” in relation to the Manafort-Gates case. Based on protocol, that indictment is likely against a higher ranking target than Manafort or Gates. Manafort was the campaign chairman, and there is arguably no one higher up the chain than Donald Trump himself. Further, Indictment (A) is still sealed, suggesting that Mueller doesn’t want the real target to know yet that he’s been indicted. This also points to Trump.
Robert Mueller’s most surefire path for making Donald Trump pay for his crimes is two-fold. The first prong involves busting Trump’s underlings and getting them to flip on him, so he can build a rock solid eyewitness case against Trump. The second prong involves indicting Trump for as many serious crimes as possible, so he can demonstrate to the public that Trump is guilty of a wide variety of crimes. It stands to reason that Mueller would collect indictments against Trump from each of his grand juries, and leave those indictments sealed until it’s time to go after Trump himself.
To be clear, the “Indictment (A)” in question is not against George Papadopoulos, who had a different case number entirely. It’s almost certainly not against Michael Flynn, whose grand jury is being run out of a different federal court in Virginia. It’s theoretically possible that the indictment could be against another high ranking target such as Jeff Sessions or Jared Kushner, but in such case it would be difficult to explain why Mueller is still keeping it sealed. Again, Indictment (A) exists. It’s against someone of higher value than Paul Manafort, and it’s sealed for a reason. The only part we can’t yet confirm for certain is that it is indeed against Donald Trump – but it probably is.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report