Feb 20, 2018 - Politics

5 clues to Mueller's roadmap

Photo: Alex Wong / Getty Images

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's shop doesn't leak, but last week's 37-page indictment of Russians provided a mess of clues about what he's up to.

The big picture: Here are five things we've learned from the indictment and our reporting surrounding the overall Russia probe.

  1. He's moving fast. The indictment is a sneak peek at the level of sweep and color we can expect in a final report, and is a mammoth accomplishment just nine months after Mueller was appointed. A source familiar with the investigation told me it won't take years, like Ken Starr's probe of Bill Clinton.
  2. He's using the full reach of federal power, including the intelligence agencies, whose sources and methods were reflected in the indictment. CNN contributor Garrett Graff, who wrote a bookabout Mueller as FBI director, told me: "[T]he main (and ongoing) surprise is the strength and breadth of this investigation."
  3. He's signaling quantity: MSNBC contributor Matt Miller, a former Justice Department spokesman, told me: "Friday’sindictment established the legal architecture for possible future charges. Once you’ve established there was a conspiracy, you can charge anyone who was aware of the conspiracy and took an overt action to further it." Miller also expects tax charges.
  4. He's watching his back: The indictment-announcement presser by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who supervises the investigation, was meant to signal that Mueller intends to be efficient and transparent. With the quick revelations about Russia and the election, Mueller was signaling this isn't a fishing expedition. And he made it harder for Trump to fire him.
  5. What's coming: The source familiar with the investigation expects Mueller to reach some conclusion about the hacks of email belonging to the DNC and Clinton campaign chair John Podesta. Matt Miller told me: "Now that [Mueller] has decided to indict one set of Russian participants, it seems likely he will indict the Russian participants in the hacking as well. The big question ... remains whether there will be any American co-conspirators."

What's next

Bolton alleges in book that Trump tied Ukraine aid to investigations

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton alleges in his forthcoming book that the president explicitly told him "he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens," the New York Times first reported.

Why this matters: The revelations present a dramatic 11th hour turn in Trump's Senate impeachment trial. They directly contradict Trump's claim that he never tied the hold-up of Ukrainian aid to his demands for investigations into his political opponent Joe Biden.

Honoring Kobe Bryant: Sports stars, politicians and celebrities mourn NBA great

Kobe Bryant on court for the Los Angeles Lakers during the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest on All-Star Saturday Night, part of 2010 NBA All-Star Weekend at American Airlines Center in Dallas in February 2010. Photo: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Sports stars, politicians and celebrities paid tribute to NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who was killed in a California helicopter crash alongside his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others on Saturday. He was 41.

What they're saying: Lakers great Shaquille O'Neal said in an Instagram post of his former teammate, "There's no words to express the pain I'm going through now with this tragic and sad moment of losing my friend, my brother, my partner in winning championships, my dude and my homie. I love you brother and you will be missed."

Go deeperArrow3 hours ago - Sports

What's next: Trump's broader travel ban

A sign for International Arrivals is shown at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Photo: Ted S. Warren/AP

President Trump is expected to announce an expanded travel ban this week, which would restrict immigration from seven additional countries — Nigeria, Myanmar, Sudan, Belarus, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan and Tanzania, per multiple reports.

  • The announcement would come on the third anniversary of Trump's original travel ban, which targeted Muslim-majority nations, per Axios' Stef Kight.