Muller investigation may go 'dark' during mid term elections

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the investigation into collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians during the 2016 presidential election may either wrap up or be put on hold before the mid term elections 6 months from now.

Though Mr. Mueller doesn’t face any specific legal deadline, the fall midterms amount to a political one, according to experts and prosecutors. He will reach a point this summer when Justice Department habits dictate that he will have to either finish his inquiries or go dark and stretch out his work until past November so he doesn’t appear to be trying to sway voters’ decisions, which would be at odds with Justice Department guidelines for prosecutors.

Mr. Mueller has a lot still to do—prepare several reports, bring expected charges against alleged Russian hackers behind the breach of the Democratic National Committee and make decisions on whether to prosecute other cases. Perhaps the most politically sensitive issue he has yet to resolve is whether the special counsel’s office will interview President Donald Trump.

He might get all those things done in the next few months. But if he can’t, he may have to go quiet during the political season and resume afterward.

On Friday, Mr. Trump said he wants to grant an interview to Mr. Mueller but his lawyers have counseled him otherwise. One of Mr. Trump’s lawyers, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, said on Fox News last week he could envision a conversation of two or two-and-½ hours at most.

The probe to date has produced five public guilty pleas—largely for lying to investigators or for conduct unrelated to the 2016 campaign. A sixth defendant, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, is scheduled to face trial on bank and tax fraud charges stemming from alleged misconduct that primarily predated the presidential election. Mr. Mueller has also charged 13 Russians with election interference.

First, it is extremely unlikely Mueller will wrap up his investigation before the election. He has yet to find any evidence of collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign (and isn't likely to) and he has yet to find anything impeachable against Trump. 

He may "shut down" the investigation during the lead up to the mid terms, but that only means there will be no public information released. Since most "news" is generated via leaks to reporters, it won't seem like anything has been "shut down" at all.

Finally, that last paragraph in the WSJ article is extremely telling. No one has been indicted for anything related to the 2016 election campaign and no one is likely to be. If this had been a Republican investigation, the media would be up in arms that a special counsel had spent all this time investigating and found nothing related to his primary mission.

But since it's Trump, the media will smoothly segue from "collusion" to whatever wrongdoing Mueller is going to get on Trump. The whole notion of "collusion" will be forgotten as if it never existed. Whether it's payments to a porn star or some other financial misdeed committed by Trump before he ran for president, Mueller will come up with something to satisfy his constituency - Democrats in Congress.

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