It’s been hiding in plain sight all along. When Special Counsel Robert Mueller arrested Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, they were listed as “Indictment (B)” on the official court records. This means that the Manafort-Gates criminal case also resulted in an “Indictment (A)” which is still under seal, and by definition, has to be against a bigger fish in the Trump-Russia scandal. It’s not George Papadopoulos. It’s not Michael Flynn either.
Six weeks later, Indictment (A) is still sealed. We know nothing about it, other than that it has to be related to the Manafort-Gates case, and that Mueller is keeping it sealed for a reason. He’s not ready to charge and arrest that person, and he may not even want the target of the indictment to know about it. So let’s talk about who that target is, and why Mueller is still sitting on it.
We know it’s not Papadopoulos, because he had a different case number. We know it’s not Flynn because his case was carried out in a different federal court district entirely. And again, it has to be someone even bigger than Manafort, both because it was listed first, and because it’s still sealed. The only possibilities are Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Jared Kushner, Jeff Sessions, or perhaps Donald Trump Jr. But again, Indictment (A) has to relate directly to the Manafort-Gates case. There is nothing to suggest that Manafort and Sessions were tied to each other, or Manafort and Kushner.
There are, however, financial connections between Paul Manafort and Donald Trump. I continue to strongly suspect that Indictment (A) is against Trump, and it’s one of the methods Mueller is using for ensuring that Trump can’t pardon Manafort. Indicting Trump alongside Manafort would make them co-conspirators, meaning the Supreme Court would be far more likely to rule that any Trump pardon of Manafort is invalid. There’s a common misperception that a sitting president can’t be indicted, but numerous legal scholars have argued that Trump can indeed be indicted.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report