Meet Robert Mueller, The most powerful man in Washington

0
21

(SAI Bureau) Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller’s one-two punch on Monday sent a forceful message to President Donald Trump, the public and potential suspects about the case he is constructing of Trump associates’ involvement with Russia during the 2016 campaign. Mueller showed he can keep a secret and maximize the impact of what he makes public. In the first major filings of his investigation into the Russian effort to influence the election  Mueller revealed how broadly he has taken his mandate, the kinds of records he has uncovered, and how he has leveraged at least one insider to cooperate.
His double-barrel strike was likely more potent than releasing on two different days the indictment related to former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former Trump campaign official Rick Gates, and the plea deal of George Papadopoulos. “There’s a ‘large scale ongoing investigation of which this case is a small part,’” Aaron Zelinsky of the special counsel’s office said during Papadopoulos’ sentencing hearing earlier this month, according to a transcript unsealed Monday. Mueller’s team appears to be making its case to the public, too. In the documents released Monday, evidence is laid out in attention-getting detail, with tantalizing quotes (“Great work,” a campaign supervisor tells Papadopoulos). The documents point up the fact that the Trump campaign was aware early in 2016 of offers of “thousands” of potentially damaging emails about Democrat Hillary Clinton. There is an implicit warning to potential additional defendants about trying to hide evidence and a “we’ve got more” suggestion throughout. The Papadopoulos statement opened with the observation that it does not “constitute all the facts known” and then referred to conversations he had with multiple high-ranking (unnamed at this point) campaign officials.The timing of the rollout may also have thrown the White House. Manafort was pictured walking into FBI offices in Washington as he and Gates were indicted. The President barely had had time to assert on Twitter that the indictment of Manafort and Gates was unrelated to his campaign when the Papadopoulos news went public. The guilty plea details how the 30-year-old former campaign foreign policy adviser lied to federal investigators about his interactions with foreign officials close to the Russian government. Papadopoulos falsely described the facts surrounding interactions with a foreign contact regarding possible “dirt” on Clinton, Republican Trump’s opponent in the race for the White House.