According to a report today by Fox Business correspondent Charlie Gasparino, Mueller was expected to conclude witness testimony with the appearance of Trump confidante Roger Stone.
“What we’re hearing from sources close to the probe is that Mueller is wrapping it up,” Gasparino told Fox host Neil Cavuto. “He’s wrapping it up with witness testimony. It looks like the last one or among the last testimony — take [President Donald Trump] out of it because that could get tied up in Supreme Court land and never happen or maybe will happen soon — is Roger Stone, his former political adviser.”
“I spoke with Roger over the weekend, he has told me he has retained counsel,” the Fox Business reporter continued. “He has not been called yet. But from what our sources close to the probe are saying is likely to be among the last of the Mohicans here, the last of the witnesses before Mueller at least wraps of the witness side [of the investigation].”
My initial thought upon reading the above centered upon the fact that no “witness interviews are complete” until Jared Kushner is forced to sit under oath and talk about what he was thinking when he handed over intelligence to the Saudis, when he met with Chinese officials alone, when he sought a back-channel communication to the Kremlin through the Russian embassy and, he must explain how it is he could have such a horrid memory about all those Russian contacts not included in his disclosure statements drafted in his failed attempts to receive a security clearance.
But, then I caught myself.
I am infused with raw arrogance of the type seldom encountered by normal people, and yet even I can concede that I am nowhere near as good a lawyer as Robert Mueller, nor do I have his experience or access to the facts. If Robert Mueller concludes his “witness interviews” without interviewing Jared Kushner, it is because he has made the decision that he does not need Kushner’s testimony. Perhaps Mueller knows the answer to every question that he would ask Kushner, thus an attempt to interview Trump’s family will do nothing but needlessly increase tensions in an atmosphere where nary a week goes by where someone on Fox doesn’t scream that Mueller must be fired now. It is also possible that Jared Kushner’s legal team reached out to Mueller, quietly, and made arrangements that none of us know anything about. After all, it’s delicate business saving yourself by selling out your father-in law, we wouldn’t be shocked if we only found out after the fact.
Roger Stone is the perfect “final witness.” After all, if a dirty trick has been played on behalf of a Republican politician in the last 50 years, Roger Stone was somehow involved, likely being the man who invented the trick in the first place. Let your mind conjure the perfect “criminal,” a man without regard for anyone but himself, someone who will gleefully hurt others if there is money in it for him. Now convert that “criminal” to a political operative, someone who wants political power, not money, and you have Roger Stone. If Trump committed crimes in the process of becoming president (as opposed to crimes committed before becoming a candidate, such as money-laundering), then Stone knows the who, what, where and why. Stone will need be exceedingly careful, knowing that – as the last witness, Mueller will know the answer to every question asked, and lies will be prosecuted.
Interesting to note that Gasparino seems resigned to the fact that Mueller and Trump will not be talking. Of course they will not. Criminals don’t talk to prosecutors.
But, it is shocking that the President of the United States, one who maintains that this entire thing is all a hoax, will not sit down and tell Mueller why it is all a hoax. It is shocking that Trump can rely on a base believing that he is fully justified in not talking to the Special Counsel because clearly – in the eyes of the person who still supports Trump – Mueller is a usurper, a person trying to overturn an election, an agent of the deep state, someone trying to “set-up” Trump. Thus, at least with his hard core base, there’s no political price to pay by not speaking to Mueller. The real analysis entails pinning a number on just what that base might be, and whether it is closer to 30% than 45%. If just 10% of Trump voters are “upset” that he will not speak to the Special Counsel and explain himself and explain why this is all a “witchhunt,” that could be a significant number.
Finally, I will end by noting that we have read before that Mueller organized the investigation into three main sections, crimes committed while in office – obstruction and the like, which Mueller believes fall solely within Congress’s jurisdiction. A second branch is organized to investigate “crimes committed prior to taking office,” or the “money laundering” and “collusion” type of crimes, for which Mueller believes he can prosecute the president. Note that crimes in this second branch, the ones occurring prior to becoming president would be the type that require fewer “witness interviews,” given that the evidence would likely be found in FBI wiretaps, computers, and outside sources such as bank records. Mueller envisions “wrapping up” the”Obstruction” section within the next month or two (by July) with a report to Congress. I believe it is highly likely that Stone is the last witness to that first branch of the investigation. As for the third section? That remains a mystery, but I sure look forward to hearing about it someday.