A recent report offered up by The Hill suggests that special counsel Robert Mueller may be in the process of hiring additional prosecutors to handle the file that is colloquially known as the Trump-Russia probe into alleged international interference with regards to the 2016 presidential election.
Several anonymous sources – current and former U.S. officials according to The Hill – allege that Mueller is adding these prosecutors in advance of a potential decision to step away from the probe personally, leaving the matter in the hands of a larger team that had followed him this far. Mueller’s team is currently comprised of 17 federal prosecutors, having grown in size and scope as time has crawled along.
The probe thus far has cost taxpayers a total of nearly $8 million dollars, in tandem with a concomitant and permanent Justice Department investigation running in parallel that is costing $9 million during the same time frame. These figures offered up are measured from May of last year until March of this one.
The notion that Mueller may remove himself from the case seems to reinforce the growing notion that the special counsel may not have a collusion case against President Trump after all, with a recent report by The Spectator reinforcing this line of thinking. With early political analysis indicating that Democrats were attempting to bait Trump into firing Mueller outright in the developmental stages of the probe in order to mask the fact that serious charges were not substantiated by evidence, a further raid on the president’s long-time lawyer Michael Cohen’s office seems to reiterate this line of thinking.
Cohen faces increasing pressure to “flip” on President Trump, according to The Guardian, as the special counsel seeks to find any information whatsoever they can use to leverage against Trump. Cohen was squarely in the midst of the Stormy Daniels affair as well as heading up legal responsibilities for the Trump Organization for about a decade and is a close personal friend of the president, supposedly privy to much private information.
Whether the move signals that there is a chance Mueller may hand off responsibility for the special counsel role to another investigator or not, the probe looks set to wrap up shortly as Mueller’s team seems to be fixated on the upcoming trial of former Trump aide Paul Manafort, charged with acting as a foreign lobbyist with a potential to be further charged with witness tampering as well as the 13 Russian nationals named by Mueller’s team as having conducted a global cyber warfare campaign designed to sway voters to Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton.
The Russian response to the allegations made by the special counsel has primarily taken the form of ridicule and scorn. Global News quotes Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as saying, “I have no response.”
“You can publish anything, and we see those indictments multiplying, the statements multiplying.”
“There are no official claims, there are no proofs for this. That’s why they are just children’s statements,” another Russian official – presidential envoy for international IT Andrei Kutskikh – said on the matter of alleged election interference.
President Trump is set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 16 during a summit in Helsinki, Finland.