The DOJ beat reporters are on tenterhooks this week, having been led to believe that The Mueller Report will be delivered today, tomorrow, or soon thereafter. That has intensified the already fever pitch around what will happen next.
Given that there is great confidence the conclusion is imminent, here’s why such speculation is misplaced.
We have no idea, and there are many possible options.
Those options include:
- A request for a conspiracy indictment naming Trump as a defendant, which would be denied, therefore triggering a report of that denial to the Judiciary Committees (but which would also presumably result in an indictment of others).
- An overarching conspiracy indictment including Don Jr and other players, with Trump named as an unindicted co-conspirator.
- A Road Map akin to the Watergate one, sharing grand jury material with the House Judiciary Committee; this would be a strong possibility in case of option 2.
- No further indictment, but a report showing a great deal of evidence a conspiracy took place, with The Report explaining why (including Presidential prerogative on foreign policy) it can’t be indicted, with or without an accompanying HJC Road Map.
- Some kind of report submitted as a counterintelligence report, in addition to indictments (a possibility some have floated but which I believe to utterly misunderstand the nature of Mueller’s task).
- The Report showing much ado about nothing.
I happen to think there’s a great deal of evidence a quid pro quo conspiracy took place, but certainly entertain the possibility that Mueller thinks he wouldn’t have an 85% chance of conviction, which DOJ would likely require before he indicted it. But even if I’m right, it still leaves open most of these options.
And the aftermath of every single one of these options is contingent. Meaning it is way premature to get into debates about what William Barr will include in his report and whether Trump can quash the report by invoking privilege until we know whether the The Report is what the regulations require them to be — with the really important details in either an indictment and/or Road Map, or in fact something more comprehensive.
Which is why I think, given the promise that Mueller’s end game is imminent, doing anything but admitting that we don’t know is a waste of air.
As I disclosed last July, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post.