Today we all learned that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had the FBI launch a pre-dawn raid on Paul Manafort’s home in order to seize evidence in Donald Trump’s Russia scandal – while Manafort was asleep in the bedroom (link). This points to Mueller taking the most aggressive approach possible in the Trump-Russia probe. Now one MSNBC analyst is asserting that Mueller already has Trump’s tax returns.
Matthew Miller, a frequent on-air Justice and Security Analyst on MSNBC, put it this way after the details surfaced of the Manafort raid: “Every sign we’ve seen to date shows Mueller moving very aggressively. Think it’s safe to assume he’s already gotten Trump’s tax returns” (link). And it’s easy to agree with his assertion. Today’s news, combined with the recent news that Mueller has had a Trump-Russia grand jury underway for weeks and it’s already issuing subpoenas, makes clear that he’s pulling no punches. It also points to another crucial aspect of Mueller’s strategy.
News of the Trump-Russia grand jury didn’t leak out until after the first round of subpoenas had gone out, which was weeks after the grand jury had first been impaneled. The FBI raid on Paul Manafort’s home, which was overseen by Mueller, involved the agents getting as far as Manafort’s bedroom door before waking him up. And so Mueller is quietly taking aggressive action, while also using the element of surprise to catch everyone involved in the Trump-Russia scandal off guard.
This means that these leaks to the media about Robert Mueller’s actions are going to be days or weeks behind what’s playing out under the surface. So based on his aggression, it is in fact safe to assume that Mueller long ago pulled Trump’s tax returns. And based on Mueller’s discretion, it’s equally safe to assume that official confirmation of it won’t leak to the media until after it’s too late for Trump to do anything about it.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report