Any chance special counsel Robert Mueller had to get an interview with President Trump was likely killed with the unprecedented FBI raid on Trump’s personal attorney, the far-left NBC News reports.
Prior to this week’s raid, which has shifted public opinion against Mueller, detailed that talks had been ongoing between the special counsel’s office and Trump’s attorneys about a potential interview, an opportunity for Mueller to question the president directly. NBC reports that the negotiation was nearly concluded, had reached the “final sticking points” about the “timing, scope and length” of Trump’s testimony.
Things were close enough that, in an effort to fully prepare for the interview, Trump was talking about expanding his legal team.
But the raid, which many see as a mixture of prosecutorial overreach and desperation, has scrambled negotiations. The chances of Trump’s sitting down with a special counsel, who is obviously out of control and working way outside his stated mission to investigate collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, are probably nil.
Moreover, Mueller’s disastrous stunt gives Trump cover with the public to not sit down with Mueller. By all accounts, the FBI’s raid on Michael Cohen is centered on Trump’s personal sex life, including, for some bizarre reason, the Access Hollywood tape and the perfectly legal non-disclosure agreement signed by a porn star and Playboy bunny who claim to have had consensual affairs with Trump more than a decade ago.
The public just does not care about this stuff.
Because it gave Trump what the public will see as a perfectly legitimate excuse not to sit for an interview, the Cohen raid is probably the first big mistake Mueller has made. The interview was Mueller’s best chance to nail the president in a process crime, to lure him into a perjury trap.
As of now, Mueller’s investigation is floundering. Thus far, he has only been able to charge a few people with process or financial crimes, none of which have anything to do with Trump or his campaign.
In another dramatic move, Mueller did indict a handful of Russians, but this ultimately proved to be a showy and symbolic gesture. The accused will never be extradited, will never see the inside of a courtroom, and are not even charged with “election meddling.” Whatever they might be guilty of, it was small potatoes and more anti-Trump than not.
What’s more, the Russian investigation has backfired on the political left. The Democrats and their allies in the media and intelligence community are the ones facing the blowback. Partisan FBI personnel have been fired or demoted, and the congressional investigation into the Obama’s administration’s obvious surveillance abuses has only just begun.
As far as Trump’s obstructing justice, even the non-stop leaks coming from Mueller’s office to anti-Trump outlets like NBC News cannot make anything close to a credible case for that:
Three sources familiar with the investigation said the findings Mueller has collected on Trump’s attempts to obstruct justice include: His intent to fire former FBI Director James Comey; his role in the crafting of a misleading public statement on the nature of a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between his son and Russians; Trump’s dangling of pardons before grand jury witnesses who might testify against him; and pressuring Attorney General Jeff Sessions not to recuse himself from the Russia investigation.
This is a laughable pile of nonsense, and Mueller knows it.
So now, Mueller is chasing the sex angle, but in doing so, he almost certainly blew his chance to achieve his goal of overturning a presidential election with a perjury charge. The only thing that might have persuaded Trump to risk an interview was public pressure, which Trump no longer has to worry about.
Trump has plenty of other things to worry about. Mueller is more likely than not to make more empty but grandiose moves in the hopes of affecting the outcomes of the 2018 mid-terms and Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign. But the interview is where Trump would have faced the most risk, and Mueller appears to have blown that.
Up till now, unlike others at his level under investigation, Trump has been incredibly cooperative. While Obama officials pleaded the Fifth, Hillary deleted and bleached emails, and Bill Clinton hid what he could behind executive privilege, no one on Team Trump has done any of this.
Hopefully, those days are over.