The prevailing wisdom inside Washington, D.C., political circles appears to be that Special Counsel Robert Mueller will be ending his investigation into Russian collusion with the 2016 Donald Trump presidential campaign sometime very soon. As recently as 10 days ago, the wife of Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker said in an email to a reporter that Mueller was “wrapping up” his investigation, CNN reported. A week before that, NBC News reported that Mueller’s probe would be completed and his final report issued by March of this year.
And back in December, Yahoo! News Washington Bureau Chief Michael Isikoff reported that Mueller’s investigators were merely “tying up loose ends” in the investigation, which was rapidly reaching its “endgame.”
But following the arrest and indictment of longtime Trump associate and political mentor Roger Stone in the pre-dawn hours of Friday morning, as the Inquisitr has reported, some experts have looked at the evidence made public in Mueller’s 24-page indictment of Stone and concluded that the conventional wisdom is wrong — and that Mueller’s probe may actually be, in effect, just getting started.
“The indictment is a leap forward. The connection between the Russian hacking, WikiLeaks and the senior level of the Trump campaign is made tighter, seemingly airtight,” wrote former New York Times Editor Jill Abramson in The Guardian. “Although the conventional wisdom in Washington is that the special counsel is wrapping up, the Stone indictment shows he’s still steaming ahead.”
Julian Sanchez, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute think tank, explained in a New York Times op-ed column on Saturday that Mueller’s main target in the Friday raid on Stone’s Florida residence was not Stone himself, but electronic equipment containing emails, text messages, and other records of Stone’s communications with associates that could shed light on his involvement with the public release of emails stolen by Russian hackers via the document-dumping site Wikileaks.
“If Mr. Mueller is indeed less interested in Mr. Stone than the potential evidence on his phones and computers, the conventional wisdom that the special counsel probe is wrapping up — and could issue a final report as soon as next month — seems awfully implausible,” Sanchez wrote in the Times column. “Digital forensics takes time, and a single device could easily hold many thousands of messages to sift through….We may ultimately look back on Mr. Stone’s arrest not as the beginning of the special counsel’s endgame, but the point when the investigation began to really heat up.”