After eight convictions and 33 indictments Robert Mueller suddenly brought his investigation to an abrupt end. He has turned his final report over to Attorney General Barr with the surprising addendum that he does not intend to recommend any further indictments.
I acknowledge complete surprise. In reading the tea leaves I saw many signs, to include actions and redactions from Mueller, that this investigation still had a long way to go. Here are some of the things that make Mueller’s calling it quits now such a mystery.
- The Andrew Miller Subpoena. Andrew Miller is an associate of Roger Stone subpoenaed to appear before Mueller’s grand jury. He contested the subpoena in court. In late January, when Stone was indicted, Miller’s lawyer asked if the subpoena challenges could be dropped as moot. Mueller responded that it was not moot, and the grand jury still wanted testimony from Miller. Now the investigation ends and Miller still has not testified.
- The Mystery Company Subpoena. Mueller subpoenaed a still unidentified foreign government owned mystery company to turn over documents related to his investigation. This company also contested the subpoena. It lost in court and was subject to fines for contempt of $50,000 per day, but continued to appeal, filing a cert with the Supreme Court. The very day Mueller ended the investigation the Supreme Court met to consider the request for cert. Mueller never got the documents he fought so hard and long to get.
- The Rick Gates Sentencing Extension. On March 15th, just one week before ending the investigation, Mueller requested yet another delay in sentencing Manafort protege Rick Gates because “Gates continues to cooperate with respect to several ongoing investigations.” The delay was for 60 more days, until May 14th. Why do this for an investigation ending in a week?
- The Redacted Cohen Warrants. Just three days prior to calling it quits Mueller released hundreds of pages of documents related to search warrants against convicted Trump attorney and fixer Michael Cohen. While redactions were scattered throughout, one section entitled “The Illegal Campaign Contribution Scheme” was followed by over 18 pages of completely redacted material. Why would Mueller redact so much to protect the integrity of an investigation that he would end in three days?
- The Redacted Flynn Sentencing Memorandum. On December 4th Mueller released a frustratingly heavily redacted sentencing memorandum for Michael Flynn. Technically, it’s two documents. A sentencing memo, and a heavily redacted addendum. Over half of the addendum is redacted. At one point the addendum said, “[Flynn] has also assisted the SCO investigation concerning links or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump campaign . . . on a range of issues including interactions between individuals of the Presidential Transition Team and Russia.” Redacted material follows this. And yet no charges directly alleging “coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump campaign,” though the allegations against Stone come very close.
- The Jerome Corsi Draft Indictment. Last November it appeared Mueller and Roger Stone associate Jerome Corsi were close to a cooperation agreement, but they didn’t get there. Mueller presented to Corsi a draft “Statement of Charges” (essentially the substance of an indictment) that Corsi would admit was true. When Corsi refused cooperation he rather bizarrely released the draft. It detailed facts and allegations that Corsi acted as an intermediary between Wikileaks and Stone, for which Stone would later be indicted. Mueller was clearly prepared to indict Stone’s coconspirator, Corsi, yet he closes his investigation without doing so. Why?
- The Botched Shared Polling Data Redaction. On January 8th Manafort’s lawyers released a sentencing recommendation that was supposed to redact certain things. However, they somehow included digital versions of the redacted material in the release. Mueller did not want us to see, just three months ago, that during the campaign Manafort secretly met with a Russian spy and gave him Trump Campaign polling data. Virtually nothing has been heard about this since. Yet, just three months ago, Mueller wanted it redacted to preserve the integrity of the investigation.
- Who Directed Roger Stone To Get In Touch With Wikileaks? Roger Stone’s indictment describes the campaign working continuously with Stone as an intermediary with Russian agent Wikileaks. At one point the indictment says, “After the July 22, 2016 release of stolen DNC emails by Wikileaks, a senior Trump Campaign official was directed to contact STONE about any additional releases and what other damaging information Wikileaks had regarding the Clinton Campaign. STONE thereafter told the Trump Campaign about potential future releases of damaging material by Wikileaks.” The mystery of who directed “a senior Trump campaign official” to contact Stone about getting more Wikileaks data remains unresolved. For reasons I have explained, I believe it was President Trump.
- Mueller Procedurally Ties Roger Stone’s Case To The Russian Case. Only a month ago a little noticed Mueller motion linked the case against Roger Stone to the case already filed against 12 Russians for interfering in the election. Mueller argued Stone’s illegal acts are part of the same criminal transactions done by the Russian GRU, and should therefore be assigned the same judge in the interest of judicial economy.
Perhaps these, and other unknowns, will be cleared up by Mueller’s report. For example, the illegal campaign contribution scheme could simply be picked up by another prosecutor’s office. However, other mysteries are harder to explain away with that.