So much for a quiet weekend in politics. Last night word leaked out that Bob Mueller has convinced a grand jury to bring the first charges in the Russia, Russia, Russia investigation. Unfortunately, while there are clearly some people out there who know the details, nobody is talking yet, so we don’t know who is on the hot seat. But whoever it is, they may find themselves doing a perp walk as soon as Monday morning. (Fox News)
The first charges have been filed in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, reports said Friday evening.
At least one person could be taken into custody as early as Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed sources.
It wasn’t immediately clear who could be charged or for what.
Richard Hibey, attorney for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, told Fox News that neither he nor any of his colleagues representing Manafort had been informed of any indictment of their client.
While it would be hilarious to think that the target is either John Podesta or Debby Wasserman Schultz, that’s unlikely in the extreme. The smart money seems to be on Manafort doing the walk of shame, with General Michael Flynn being the runner-up. We don’t know if it’s only one person at this point, so it could be both or someone else entirely. Jason Howerton at Independent Journal Review seems to be hinting that Mueller could be indicting President Trump himself, but somehow I doubt it.
“Excuse me, Mr. President? There are some, er… gentlemen here to see you...”
Once we have a name (or names), the truly interesting question to be answered is what they’re being charged with. As far as I know there still aren’t any laws on the books against Talking To Russians, so it would have to be something else. Talking about “collusion” is a tricky subject, much like proving a conspiracy. A couple of other possibilities have been suggested already which sound more likely. One is that it could be some sort of money laundering scheme resulting in foreign cash winding up in American campaign coffers.
The second, and in my opinion more likely scenario is that we could see charges along the lines of lying under oath or obstruction of justice. Plenty of the major players in this investigation have been called in repeatedly to offer sworn testimony before either DoJ investigators or Congress. If Mueller believes he’s turned up evidence showing that one of them was fibbing that could serve as grounds for an indictment. (Back to the old rule about the coverup always being worse than the crime, assuming there even as a crime to begin with.)
However those cards fall, we then move on to the bonus round. Assume for the moment that the person or persons arrested on Monday are from somewhere in Trump World. Does the President have a stack of pardons in his desk waiting for just such an occasion and might he use that power to end the proceedings before they can get the first suspect fitted out with an orange jumpsuit? He’s already demonstrated that he’s not at all shy about breaking out the pardon pen if he has to. (Joe Arpaio was still walking free last I checked.)
If that’s the case, the howls of outrage on the left will be heard all the way up to the International Space Station. But there’s really not much that anyone could do about it at that point. And one more thing to keep in mind is that Mueller is delivering these charges only days after a group of Republicans were calling on him to resign from the Russia probe.
Break out the popcorn, folks. It’s going to be an interesting week.