It’s election day, but in less than 24 hours the news cycle will reset itself.
Rumors are already swirling as to what Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s findings will be, when the unclassified report is expected to be made public and whether or not his investigation will reveal any new information on the allegations that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.
Only Mueller and DOJ Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein know when the more than $17 million investigation will wrap up, when it will be released to the public and what it will reveal.
So far, there has been no evidence to suggest collusion with Russia. Instead, nearly two years later, mountains of evidence have surfaced exposing malfeasance among some officials within the FBI and DOJ, as well as mishandling of the Russia probe. Multiple FBI officials have either been fired or resigned from their positions and Republican lawmakers are still in the midst of their ongoing investigation into alleged corruption within the bureau, as well as the DOJ.
One former White House official said that a recent article in Vanity Fair referencing current White House officials concerns that Mueller will try to wrap Donald Trump Jr. into the probe has been a rumor for some time. Author Gabriel Sherman, who appears to have interviewed White House staff at a birthday party for former Trump Communications Director Hope Hicks in New York City, said that officials, speaking on background, said that it’s Mueller’s report that has everyone worried.
“It’s true that there’s been a lot of concern with where Mueller is going with this investigation,” said another source with intimate knowledge of White House concerns. “Just look at what has happened so far, the people that Mueller has wrapped up into an investigation that have nothing to do with what the investigation was supposed to be about. Of course, anyone in Mueller’s scope is worried – this is political it’s not about justice.”
According to Sherman’s article, sources said that both Roger Stone and Don Jr. have the most exposure. But another source, described by Sherman as a West Wing official said, “I’m very worried about Don Jr.”
They told Vanity Fair that Mueller may attempt to show Don Jr. perjured himself when he spoke to investigators regarding whether or not he told the president about his June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, and other campaign staff, who were told that she would provide information on then presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Since the meeting, however, congressional investigations have unearthed mountains of evidence that has led to the question as to whether or not the meeting was a ruse, set up by Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson, who was working with the Russian lawyer on repealing the U.S. law known as the Magnitsky Act (for more information on this story click here).
Sebastian Gorka, former White House advisor to President Trump, said the rumors regarding Mueller are the same ones that have been circulating in the media for months.
The president told me back in June of last year that they will find nothing because there is nothing to find.
“I’ve heard only what’s out there already and it’s been out there for a long time,” Gorka told SaraACarter.com. “The president told me back in June of last year that they will find nothing because there is nothing to find.
Gorka speculates that if an unclassified report is made available to the public, “there will be a whole host of unsubstantiated hearsay that Mueller will provide to the Democrats in an attempt to subvert the president’s agenda.”
As for rumors about collusion, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) told this reporter last week, that after hearing Papadopoulos’ testimony to lawmakers on Oct. 25, he was confident based on the information gathered and the testimony provided that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Lawmakers with the House Judiciary and House Oversight committees (which have led a joint investigation into FBI and DOJ’s actions during the Russia investigation) say Papadopoulos was just an advisor and used by the FBI to build a case – one that lacked evidence – into the Trump campaign.
“With each and every witness we interview, the foundation of the ‘Russia collusion’ narrative and investigation crumbles a little further, ” said Meadows. “After speaking with Mr. Papadopoulos…it’s again clear that not only was there zero collusion – but there wasn’t even an opportunity for collusion based on Mr. Papadopoulos’ contacts. Conveniently, selective anonymous leaks from career officials and the FBI and DOJ paint a different picture. Our investigation continues to raise fundamental concerns that there was inappropriate behavior on behalf of the FBI and DOJ executives as it relates to how the Russia probe began.”
But beyond Mueller, other reports expected to make news either before the end of the year or by early next year.
DOJ Inspector Michael Horowitz and his team of investigators have been working diligently behind the scenes, investigating the FBI’s handling of the Russia probe. That report is expected to be a detailed account of how the FBI handled the Russia investigation and coincides with separate congressional investigations regarding the same events and players.
Republican lawmakers, however, were dealt a setback several weeks before the midterm election when Trump backed away from declassifying the FBI’s Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Application (FISA) warrant on former Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page. Instead, Trump handed over the FISA application, the FBI interviews with embattled DOJ Official Bruce Ohr and the classified ‘Gang of Eight’ dossier on the FBI’s investigation to Horowitz to review before he makes any final decision on declassification.
Democrat and Republican lawmakers are already gauging what each side will do if they take the House regarding ongoing investigations into how the FBI handled the Russia probe or if the Democrats win the House they have already promised a long list of investigations they want to conduct into Trump and his officials.
If Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) gets his way tonight and the Democrats take control of the House, he promises to expand the collusion investigation into Trump and make it a “top priority.”
Schiff, the leading Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, confirmed his plans to renew the Russia probe Monday night telling reporters, “We’re not taking anything for granted.”
Mueller has charged the following:
- George Papadopoulos, Campaign advisor: One count of lying to the FBI
- Paul Manafort, former campaign chairman: Tax and Bank fraud dating back to 2010.
- Michael Cohen, former Trump attorney: Tax evasion, Bank fraud, campaign finance violation.
- Alex Van Der Zwaan: Lying to investigators about his conversations with Rick Gates
- Richard Pinedo: Identity fraud.
- Michael Flynn, former National Security Advisor: Lying to the FBI. (Although, the FBI agents who interviewed him did not believe he was lying. Flynn pled guilty to Mueller’s team, however, and friends cited the high cost of his defense and threats that Mueller’s team would wrap up his son in the probe as reasons for doing so.)
- 13 Russian nationals
- 12 Russian GRU intelligence officers