With the midterm elections firmly in the rearview, the prospect of an indictment from special counsel Robert Mueller’s team is again hanging over the White House. President Trump is reportedly lashing out behind closed doors — and, also, in full view of the entire world.
In Thursday’s master class in projection, Trump tweeted that the investigation is “a total mess,” run by “screaming and shouting” people who are “highly conflicted.” Trump falsely said that Mueller, a George W. Bush appointee, “worked for Obama for 8 years” (it was five) and that his “gang of Democrat thugs” were going after Republicans while protecting those “on the other side.”
Contributing to the angst at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue: Politico reported Michael Cohen was spotted with his attorneys at D.C.’s Union Station this week, prompting speculation that he was in town to meet with Mueller’s lawyers yet again.
The target of the next indictment could well be WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. In a filing unrelated to the Russia probe, a Justice Department prosecutor accidentally let slip that charges had been prepared against Assange. Ousted Attorney General Jeff Sessions considered Assange a major target of his anti-leaker crusade. The WikiLeaks founder is also at the center of a web linking the Trump campaign to the Russia probe.
Conspiracy theorist and Roger Stone ally Jerome Corsi claimed this week that he, too, expects to be indicted because he was caught in a “perjury trap” during his 40-plus hours of interviews with Mueller’s team. It’s hard to know how much credence to give to the claims of the guy who founded Birtherism.
Stone is under investigation for witness intimidation for his interactions with New York comic Randy Credico, and messages surfaced by NBC show them discussing the demise of Hillary Clinton’s campaign days before WikiLeaks started releasing John Podesta’s emails.
Concerns still linger that the new acting attorney general, Matt Whitaker, will derail the Mueller probe. He’s trying to assuage them, telling Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) that he has no plans to kill the investigation and insisting that he won’t starve it of funds.
Mueller’s team is getting fed up with Paul Manafort’s level of cooperation, with sources telling ABC News that they’re “not getting what they want” from Trump’s former campaign chairman.
In the Russian troll farm case, a judge declined this week to toss a conspiracy charge against the firm but warned that Mueller’s team would need to go to extraordinary lengths to prove its case at trial.
Federal prosecutors in D.C. are also in negotiations with accused Russian agent Mariia Butina for the “potential resolution” of her case, which she again asked to be dismissed this week.
In a bit of lawyer-related news, the attorneys who shepherded George Papadopoulos through his federal criminal case are cutting ties, saying he’s hired other representation to deal “with any issues related to the criminal case following his sentencing.” And Michael Avenatti, former lawyer to Stormy Daniels and thorn in the side of Michael Cohen, was arrested this week on domestic violence charges. He denied the allegations.
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