Mueller’s warning to Trump: The cover-up is also a crime

George Papadopoulos. Michael Flynn. Alexander van der Zwaan. Paul Manafort. Some of the most high-profile men caught up in the Russia investigation all have one thing in common: They’ve learned firsthand that the cover-up can also be a crime.

All four men have either decided to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller or have been sent to jail—not because it was proven that any of them colluded with Russia or attempted to obstruct justice, but because they lied to the FBI or tried to influence the outcome of the investigation in some significant way. Their fates could send a clear signal to the president, who is weighing whether or not to sit down with Mueller for an interview: If you lie to federal agents, there will be consequences.