In 2018, special counsel Robert Mueller indicted Donald Trump’s campaign chair, his deputy campaign chair, his national security adviser, his personal attorney, and an adviser to his campaign. Additionally, Mueller indicted a Dutch lawyer who worked with Trump’s campaign chair, a Russian businessman who tampered with witnesses, a dozen Russian intelligence officers, thirteen more Russian nationals and three companies who were involved in setting up Russian propaganda efforts in the US, along with a California man who admitted to assisting the Russians.
And these are just the indictments we know about. It’s highly likely that there are several more names already attached to paperwork that remains under seal.
Thirty-five indictments sounds like quite a lot. Because it is. If Robert Mueller were to sit back at this point and simply prosecute the charges that have already been levied, it would make for quite a narrative: A story of how Russia spent years preparing to sabotage American democracy, selected Donald Trump as their instrument, and provided him with assistance in the form of Paul Manafort, Rick Gates and a literal army of special intelligence operatives using propaganda and cyber warfare to directly target the most vulnerable points of America’s electoral system.
With all that already done, what’s left for Robert Mueller to do? In a word: Everything. Because, as jaw-dropping as the list of 2018 indictments may seem, every indication—every indication—is that every indictment seen so far is just the warm-up for what’s to come. Because the one common factor for all the non-Russian indictments that came in 2018 was that those indictments came as part of a deal. George Papadopoulos got a deal. Rick Gates got a deal. Michael Flynn got a deal. Michael Cohen got a deal. Even Paul Manafort got a deal, before he proved “too smart” to be truthful with the special counsel.
Some of them didn’t just get deals, they got spectacular deals. That includes Flynn, who traded his testimony for walking away from actions that genuinely open debate on the proper definition of treason. The measure of just how much Flynn is being allowed to put in the rear view can be seen in the reaction of a federal judge when Flynn had the audacity to grumble.
Considering all those charges, and all those deals, what could possibly be on Robert Mueller’s schedule for 2019? Plenty. Including Roger Stone, Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump….