Back when Special Counsel Robert Mueller was first appointed to investigate the Trump-Russia scandal, it left the public confused as to what role the House and Senate committees were supposed to play. News outlets friendly to Trump tried to further muddy the waters by reporting on an essentially imaginary turf war between Mueller and Congress. But now we’re seeing evidence that they’ve been strategically coordinating all along – and that it’s paying off.
The first concrete example surfaced this week when we learned about the sequence of events that led to Paul Manafort’s house being raided. Congress had demanded that Manafort come in and testify about the scandal under threat of subpoena. The public was upset that Manafort had only agreed to closed-door hearings. But the point of this wasn’t to serve up Manafort for public consumption. It was to get him to either slip up and reveal something that could be used against him, or to demonstrate his lack of cooperation so it could be leveraged against him.
We still don’t know whether Robert Mueller was able to get a no-knock warrant for Manafort’s house because of something he gave away during his testimony, or because of what he refused to answer. But either way, it was enough for a federal judge to be convinced that the warrant was justified. Sure enough, one day after Manafort’s Congressional testimony, the FBI was inside of Manafort’s house before the sun came up the next morning.
In hindsight, Congress and Mueller must have been coordinating their approach to Manafort all along – and it paid off in spades. We can now assume that they’re working together when it comes to every witness or suspect they approach. Whenever the House or Senate demands that someone show up and testify, it’s a safe bet that it’s part of the Special Counsel’s targeting of that individual. And we’ll see similar payoffs going forward.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report