The phony, politically generated hubbub over release of the Nunes memo provided the latest chapter in President Donald Trump’s furious race to discredit Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the FBI before Mueller takes further action.
Polling shows the disturbing success of Trump’s attacks on law enforcement. Trump’s goal is to so discredit the people and institutions conducting the investigation that the fruits of their investigation – whether future indictments or a report to Congress – will be viewed as the suspect products of a biased investigation. A central question now is whether Mueller will act quickly enough for his investigation to prove effective.
While the memo brouhaha played out, important indications emerged that the Mueller investigation is moving forward with Trump in its sights. News stories involving Michael Flynn, Mark Corallo, and Rick Gates hinted that the investigation may soon produce significant new results.
Mueller requested and received an indefinite delay in the sentencing of Michael Flynn. In December, Flynn pled guilty to lying to the FBI regarding his conversations with Russian Ambassador Kislyak during the Trump transition and agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation. The delay of Flynn’s sentencing was widely interpreted to mean that Mueller is still extracting information from Flynn. That may be true. But, the postponement also may mean that Mueller does not want Flynn sentenced until he has testified against others. Prosecutors generally do not want a final sentence imposed until all terms of the cooperation agreement have been fulfilled, which may include multiple rounds of testimony. That makes it possible that Mueller is pushing back Flynn’s sentencing because he expects to need his testimony. And that suggests indictments may be coming. Read more