Mueller silent against Trump noise

Donald Trump and his supporters have tried hard to play out the investigation into Russian collusion in the 2016 election, to win it in the court of public opinion. But Robert Mueller has not played ball, he has done things his way, professionally, and largely silently. Legal matters are won and lost in court, and public statements can be used against you.

Bloomberg: Mueller’s Silence Cuts Through Noise of Trump Russia Inquiries

Through all the controversy, threats and noise surrounding the Trump-Russia investigation, one person has been conspicuously silent: Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

The former FBI director hasn’t uttered a single word in public since he was appointed in May to lead the probe into Russian meddling in the U.S. election despite increasingly combative attacks by Republicans and their allies on the FBI, the Justice Department and the integrity of his probe.

Instead of press conferences, Mueller has spoken loudly through a series of indictments and plea deals related to various Trump associates.

Trump’s lawyers have been trying to build public expectations that Mueller will wrap up soon, but officials say the investigation is ramping up in some ways and is likely to last for most, if not all, of 2018. Areas where the inquiry is accelerating include a close examination of the activities of Trump’s son Donald Jr. and son-in-law Jared Kushner, said two U.S. officials who asked to remain anonymous.

“When you’re a prosecutor, you put your head down, you do your job, and you try as much as you can to ignore the outside world,” said Patrick Cotter, a former U.S. prosecutor who worked in the 1990s with Mueller and others now serving on his team. “This case is not to be tried on cable TV. It’s to be tried in a courtroom.”

Trump has also failed to trash the investigation by Twitter.

“The way Bob has been doing this is out of the prosecutor’s rule book 101 as to how you handle an investigation,” Twardy said. “There is the court of public opinion, but the court he’s playing in is the district court. And he’s staying there.”

So far, the strategy appears to be working. Republicans have sullied his probe a bit with their attacks, but Mueller has won over key allies who would play instrumental roles should Trump try to force him out.

Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn said in interviews this week that they support Mueller and would oppose efforts to remove him. Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee said he thinks there would be an “uprising” in the Senate if Mueller were fired. That would be “beyond the pale,” Corker said.

Trump has repeatedly denied any intention to fire Mueller.

Mueller’s lack of public comment shouldn’t be confused with a failure to communicate, said Cotter, who now heads the white collar criminal defense practice at the law firm Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale, P.C. in Chicago. Mueller is speaking through legal proceedings, Cotter said.

“He’s communicating. He’s sending messages,” Cotter said. “I don’t think his intent is to send a message to the public. It’s to send a message to the people in the investigation, and that’s what he cares about.”

To date, Mueller has indicted Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and another campaign aide, Rick Gates. The special counsel also secured a guilty plea and cooperation agreement from Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn for lying to FBI agents about his contacts with Russians. A low-level foreign policy adviser to the campaign also pleaded guilty to lying to investigators and agreed to cooperate.

Small targets so far, but aimed at lining up the big targets.

Mueller’s strategy has forced some critics to reorient their attacks, Cotter said. “You can’t stand there with a straight face and say there’s absolutely nothing here” after the indictments and Flynn’s agreement to cooperate, Cotter said.

There are ongoing attempts to discredit the investigation and the chief investigator, but these have been legally futile.

The new approach by Trump’s allies is to try to delegitimize Mueller’s investigation, such as by arguing members of the team are biased, Cotter said.

“It’s a tactical change,” Cotter said. “If you convince people that whatever the investigation comes out with is bad, just because of the people who did it, then you don’t ever have to deal with the facts.”

Cotter doesn’t believe the new tactic will fare any better, or prod Mueller into making a mistake. “I can’t imagine why Mueller and his people would possibly care,” he said. “The bias in law enforcement is always in favor of law enforcement. They don’t like criminals.”

The aim of the investigation is to identify criminal activity and if they find it to prosecute.

It could be some time until we know further criminal behaviour is discovered, or has been discovered and can be proven.

“Officials say the investigation is ramping up in some ways and is likely to last for most, if not all, of 2018”.

Until it is completed we simply don’t know what the outcome may be,

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9 Comments

  1. David

     /  December 27, 2017

    Its spin time on both sides and so far we have a couple of liars being charged with lying and Manafort charged with not filling out some paperwork years and years ago. Nothing on Trump himself.
    On the Democrat side we have had a firing from the investigating team and revelations the same Hilary fan boy at the FBI was pivotal in her not being prosecuted for her illegal email server. Another top FBI guy involved in the Hilary investigation its revealed his wife was given 700k to run for govorner and under the rules got to personally keep any unspent campaign funds. A top DOJ lawyers wife we learn works for the company that produced the fake Trump dossier which the FBI mat have part funded, may have leaked and may have been used to obtain a warrant to spy on the Trump campaign.
    There is a Senate investigation, a Congressional investigation and an Inspector Generals investigation into what looks like a plot worthy of Tom Clancy with the Democrats cast as the dirty party.

    • I don’t think ‘but look over here at a failed candidate!’ is going to deter Mueller or his investigation.

      • David

         /  December 27, 2017

        I dont think it will either but its increasingly looking like the other team should be investigated because there is some actual dodgy behaviour.
        Trump is quite happy for Mueller to finish his investigation, always cooperated, never called for his removal because as all can see except the most partisan Dems that Muellers investigation is totally tainted. Mueller for some crazy reason employed lawyers who donated the maximum to Hilary, were lawyers for her foundation, attended fundraisers, attended rallies for her. Why did he not pull together an independent politicaly neutral team.
        Anyway Trump is quite happy for the Dems to keep running around screaming Russia because the more they do the better his chances of winning in 2020 are because all those voters he won off the Dems are looking at their rising pay cheques, their 401ks, the defeat of ISIS and couldnt care less about Russia.

  2. unitedtribes2

     /  December 27, 2017

    “This case is not to be tried on cable TV. It’s to be tried in a courtroom.”

    What case?

  3. David

     /  December 27, 2017

    Mueller is silent because his is too busy actually trying to find something to talk about. His chance of finding anything that even comes close to the headline is zero, it will just be a fog of minor charges related to the process, and not any actual wrongdoing that justifies the investigation.

    • unitedtribes2

       /  December 27, 2017

      If this level of scrutiny had been levelled at any other president the jails would have been filled by now. I think this one is clean

      • David

         /  December 27, 2017

        Yeap, for all the vast amount of noise made about Russian’s hacking the election, there has been zero tangible, despite all the resources of the CIA, FBI and Mueller’s teams. They have had well over a year and there is nothing except a couple of minor process related charges.

        All smoke and noise.

    • MaureenW

       /  December 27, 2017

      Trump is having a fine time trolling …

      • Gezza

         /  December 27, 2017

        “@foxandfrlends
        Account suspended
        Twitter suspends accounts which violate the Twitter Rules”

        Damn. I wanted to see what “@foxandfrlends” had posted that he was quoting from. 😕