Dec 14, 2018

The Mueller investigation may be wrapping up

Michael Cohen exits federal court after his sentencing hearing. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The sentencing (before public testimony) of Robert Mueller's cooperating witnesses suggests the end of the Russia investigation may be near, the Washington Post's well-wired Devlin Barrett reports.

The big picture: One explanation for Mueller's unusual approach is that "the accounts of those cooperating witnesses will appear in a written report, not in court." And Robert Ray, a former independent counsel on the Whitewater investigation, "said he expects Mueller to deliver a report on his findings in the first three months of 2019."

Multiplying fronts in Trump probes:

  • NBC News: "Trump was the third person in the room in August 2015 when his lawyer Michael Cohen and National Enquirer publisher David Pecker discussed ways Pecker could help counter negative stories about Trump's relationships with women." Why it matters: Daniel Goldman, an NBC News analyst and former assistant U.S. attorney, said that would "squarely place Trump in the middle of a conspiracy to commit campaign finance fraud."
  • WashPost: "Trump tried to place blame entirely on his lawyer for felonies that his advisers and allies are increasingly concerned could imperil the president."
  • Wall Street Journal: "Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating whether President Trump’s 2017 inaugural committee misspent some of the record $107 million it raised."
  • N.Y. Times: Federal prosecutors are examining "whether people from Middle Eastern nations — including Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — used straw donors to disguise their donations" to Trump’s inaugural committee and a pro-Trump super PAC.

Go deeper

What we know: Deadly Storm Dennis whips at England, Wales and Ireland

Photo: OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images.

At least two deaths are being attributed to Storm Dennis on Monday as it continues to strike at parts of England, Wales and Ireland, per AccuWeather.

The big picture: Dennis is the second-strongest nontropical storm ever recorded in the North Atlantic Ocean. Its hurricane-force winds and heavy rains have caused widespread flooding across the United Kingdom. The army has been deployed in the U.K. to help with flood relief.

Go deeperArrow10 mins ago - Science

Coronavirus cases rise as 14 American evacuees infected

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

14 Americans evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship tested positive for the novel coronavirus before being flown in a "specialist containment" on a plane repatriating U.S. citizens back home, the U.S. government said early Monday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 1,775 people and infected more than 70,000 others. Most cases and all but five of the deaths have occurred in mainland China.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

The cost of going after Bloomberg

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Here's the growing dilemma for 2020 Democrats vying for a one-on-one showdown with frontrunner Bernie Sanders: Do they have the guts — and the money — to first stop Mike Bloomberg?

Why it matters: Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren all must weigh the costs of punching Bloomberg where he looks most vulnerable: stop-and-frisk, charges of sexism, billionaire entitlement. The more zealous the attacks, the greater the risk he turns his campaign ATM against them.