It appears that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has indeed planned ahead in anticipation that President Trump would try to short-circuit or shut down the Russia investigation.
ABC News reported recently:
“More than three dozen sealed criminal indictments have been added to the federal court docket in Washington, D.C. since the start of 2018.
“And the inadvertent discovery on Thursday night of what appear to be secret charges pending against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has drawn fresh attention to the mystery. Legal experts told ABC News that the sealed cases could be tied to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and possibly part of a quiet effort to protect his investigation from any premature effort to shut it down.”
Former Justice Department official Matthew Miller said he’s convinced that Mueller has already obtained all the indictments he needs and all that remains is to make them public, which can be done with a phone call:
“I assume that Mueller knew that once the election was over, there could be an existential threat to his investigation. He knew the best thing to do was act before that.”
If indeed the cases on file in D.C. are sealed indictments connected to the Russia investigation, neither Trump or his handpicked toady, acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker, can do anything about them. They’re on the court docket and cannot be rescinded.
Former federal prosecutor Paul Butler also made reference to sealed indictments during an appearance on the MSNBC show “AMJoy,” commenting:
“We know 18 sealed indictments have been filed since August. August is the time that the Mueller team went on radio silence because of the upcoming midterm elections.
“It could be — everybody knew that after the midterm elections Attorney General [Jeff] Sessions was on the way out, Trump would be able to install his own inside man, as he’s done with Matt Whitaker. Mueller — crafty prosecutor — he may have anticipated this and filed all of these sealed indictments in this event, in the event Trump would install an attorney general who would impede the investigation.”
No matter what he does now — even if he fires everyone at the Department of Justice and replaces them with people loyal to him — Trump can’t make those sealed indictments disappear. And that means Robert Mueller now has Trump in legal checkmate.