Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible Russian influence on the 2016 election may yet yield more criminal indictments, former White House Counsel John Dean claims. The suggestion comes amidst conflicting reports which suggest that Mueller is close to finishing — or that there is no end in sight for the investigation.
As Newsweek reports, Dean, who served as White House counsel to Richard Nixon and whose testimony helped end Nixon’s presidency, stopped by CNN on Thursday night to talk about the ongoing Mueller investigation.
Dean was bullish on the idea of more criminal indictments coming before the investigation is wrapped up.
“I’ve felt that all along, [Mueller] has been building various cases through indictments.”
One name that Dean mentioned is that of Rick Gates, who had served as Donald Trump’s campaign manager. Gates has already pleaded guilty to various crimes uncovered by the Mueller probe, and is awaiting sentencing. However, Mueller has asked the courts to delay putting him behind bars while the special counsel’s team continues to work with him. Dean suggests that Gates’ testimony may lead to further indictments.
Without naming names, Dean said that “other witnesses” are still being interviewed, and their testimony may also lead to indictments.
If Mueller is indeed still interviewing witnesses, possibly with a view towards issuing more criminal indictments, that would indicate that the Russia probe is far from over. And if so, rumors that Mueller is wrapping up his investigation and will issue his report soon are false.
Dean suggests that these rumors may be a propaganda tactic by the White House.
“I wonder if the White House is doing it, trying to build up all this to make it appear the investigation is being dragged out. That would be a smart play, if that’s what they’re doing and nothing comes.”
Meanwhile, at least some congressional Democrats are preparing for the fact that the final Mueller report may yield little about Trump that can be turned into a case for impeachment, according to Time. If that happens, says billionaire Tom Steyer — who has spent $100 million on efforts to convince Congress to impeach Trump — Democrats will have made a major mistake in waiting for the report to wrap up before moving on impeachment.
“I always felt the words ‘wait for the Mueller report’ were a very ill-considered and mistaken idea to actually put off what we’ve always known needs to happen — to expose this President, to expose him publicly to the American people, and then remove him from office and get rid of him as fast as possible.”
Similarly, the question remains unanswered as to just how much of the Mueller report Congress, and the general public, will even see. Attorney General William Barr has the power to release only as much of the report as he sees fit, and he has broadly hinted that he may only release a summary.