WASHINGTON, October 28, 2017 – Inside the Beltway, everyone is wondering who is going to be the first Mueller indictment on Monday. On Friday a federal grand jury approved the first indictments in the Russia investigation. They are under seal until Monday.
Mueller has leaked news to CNN that indictments are ready and arrests are expected to be made on Monday.
What are Mueller Indictments?
An indictment is a “charging document.” The federal grand jury, a panel of as many as two-dozen citizen jurors, approves the indictment before the charges are issued.
Announcing that the indictments are under lock and key and that arrests are imminent, may signal that after the nearly 18-month process, that Mueller has finished his investigation. It also signals that federal prosecutors can begin the formal legal process. Which may all lead to jail time for someone. But for who?
The answer may be in the investigative team that Mueller assembled.
Andrew Weissman is well known inside the beltway. The seasoned government lawyer built his reputation as a tough prosecutor when prosecuting the Colombo, Gambino and Genovese crime families in New York. At the Department of Justice Weissman led the criminal fraud unit.
In keeping with Weissman’s past mafia investigation tactics, Mueller’s team has subpoenaed potential witnesses directly before the jury, forgoing the practice of first informally interviewing the witness.
Could this be to keep those witnesses from being able to protect their grand jury testimony or the possibility of a third party interfering in the process? A bit of both one might surmise.
So who will be the first to take a perp walk in Mueller’s investigation?
It seems the better bet is on former Trump campaign chair, Paul Manafort who separated with the campaign prior to the President’s inauguration. Mueller and the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office has been looking at Manafort for his participation in a money-laundering scandal and his financial relationship with Russian oligarch, and billionaire, Oleg Deripaska.
Manafort says he expects to be indicted. While at Trump Tower Manafort was wiretapped by the FBI. Two months later Manafort’s home was raided in a “no-knock” operation conducted in the middle of the night.
Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, a former national security advisor, is the next name on the shortlist. Unlike Manafort who did more than $60 million in business with the Russians, Flynn was caught in a lie about contact with Russian officials during the Trump Campaign. He also failed to disclose his connection to a plan financed by Russia and Saudi Arabia to build nuclear power plants.
“It appears that General Flynn violated federal law by omitting this trip and these foreign contacts from his security clearance renewal application in 2016 and concealing them from security clearance investigators who interviewed him as part of the background check process,” Representatives Elijah Cummings of Maryland (D) and Eliot Engel of New York (D) wrote in a letter released Wednesday.
Mueller Indictment might be a family affair
Keeping it in the family, but lower on the list, are Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, and Michael G. Flynn, son of the General. Or it could be someone who is a no one, but who might be flipped on someone higher up the chain.
Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., has also been a major suspect of the investigation after his meeting with a Russian lawyer that was nothing more than a nothing burger. Prior to the meeting, he had been promised damaging info against his father’s political opponent Hillary Clinton, bu. When he met with Natalia Veselnitskaya she showed up with talking points she received through collaboration with the Russian government.
The only problem is this was before Trump won the Presidential contest and nothing came out of the meeting. No money, no information, no collusion against Mrs. Clinton was traded.
Carter Page, a former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee for five hours on Friday. Michael Cohen, an associate of President Trump testified before both House and Senate panels in which he was grilled “on emails he received in 2015 from Felix Sater, a former Trump associate with an alleged criminal past, about a potential deal to open a Trump Tower in the Russian capital,” NBC News reported.
There is no indication that then private citizen Trump was a part of these conversations. And there is not a Trump property in Russia.
A Halloween treat for all is that Mueller has already filed charges highlights a significant change in the investigation. The investigation will now move from the investigation to a legal process, where rules of evidence and facts, not the hysteria of a media quick to whitewash the actions of Hillary Clinton and the DNC.