Trump Presidency Update: The Mueller Probe and the Attorney General Condundrum

Now that the midterms are over and post-election sobriety has set in, the challenges facing the Trump Administration, his Acting Attorney General and his Department of Justice are front and center. The Mueller Probe — which had held off on making indictment and plea agreement announcements — is back in focus. The quibbls below will get you up-to-speed and, of course, provide you with a chance to see how your predictions hold up. 

By Andrew P. Kingsbury

 

A Mueller Deluge?

FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies in Washington
Special Counsel Robert Mueller

As a lesson from the 2016 election and Comey-Clinton catastrophe, Special Counsel Robert Mueller held off on making announcements related to his investigation into Russian interference during the 2016 election and potential collusion on the part of the Trump Campaign. Some political pundits have professed their belief that Mueller will release a torrent of information, indictments, and that plea deals will ensue. With the 2018 midterm elections now over, will the Mueller Probe announce any new indictments by the end of November?

 

Acting AG Whitaker

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The Washington Post has reported that sources close to Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker claim that Whitaker has no intention of recusing himself from the Mueller Probe. Many Democrats are claiming that Whitaker was tapped to be Acting AG — this happened immediately after President Trump asked for then AG Jeff Sessions’ resignation — with the intention that President Trump wants to end the Mueller Probe. While a contributor on CNN, in 2017, Whitaker said the Mueller Probe is essentially unneeded and worthless. Whitaker even provided potential strategies and tactics that could effectively end Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation, including decreasing Mueller’s budget to point that Mueller would not be able to get anything done. Will Acting AG Whitaker recuse himself from the Mueller Probe by end of November?

 

Rod Rosenstein’s Career Prospects

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Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein

With (now former) Attorney General Jeff Sessions having been fired by President Trump, some believe Trump might have his sights set on Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein. Rosenstein has said he supports the continuation of the Mueller Probe and that he serves at the will of President Trump, meaning he could be a target at odds with the administration.

In September 2018, to add insult to injury, behind closed doors, Rosenstein suggested that President Trump should be taped unknowingly and without his consent. It is unclear whether or not Deputy AG Rosenstein was serious or joking. Regardless, the whole fiasco had many thinking Rosenstein would be summoned to the White House to be fired. Will Rosenstein resign or be fired by the end of November?

 

Maryland’s Attorney General, Democrat Brian Frosh, has filed a lawsuit arguing that President Trump’s appointment of Matthew Whitaker to Acting Attorney General was not in accordance with the law. Whitaker replaced Jeff Sessions, whom President Trump fired in November the day after the midterm elections. The case could make it all the way up to the Supreme Court. Will lower courts rule in favor of Maryland’s lawsuit proclaiming Rod Rosenstein is the rightful Acting Attorney General by the end of 2018?

 

Roger Stone’s Freedom

Thus far, political strategist Roger Stone hasn’t been interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Mr. Mueller’s investigators are probing whether Mr. Stone had direct contact with WikiLeaks” Some cable news pundits have asserted that Stone hasn’t been questioned because he is a bigger fish, meaning Mueller is interviewing people around Stone to indict Stone. Will Roger Stone be indicted by the end of November?

 

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