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Is there any reason to believe we are near the endgame?

We all know that the Mueller investigation went quiet as the election approached.

Many of us predicted that there would be lots of hot Mueller news shortly following nov 6, to the tune of new subpoenas, speaking indictments, etc.

We know that the Trump legal team has submitted answers to Mueller questions, and this feels to me very much like “midgame” stuff.

The Matthew Whitaker business has all but blown over.

Why do I see multiple articles per day talking about how Mueller is nearing the end of the investigation, ready to report his findings, etc? If that were true we would hear it from the Mueller team. The Mueller team doesn’t leak, so where are these stories coming from?

In short, I’m skeptical that we are close to the end; can anyone give me a good evidence based reason to change my mind?

EDIT: I’m just gonna start listing them because it’s something to do with my frustration:

* https://www.reddit.com/r/politics/comments/a0kn06/trump_is_rage_tweeting_again_which_means_the/
* https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/mueller-report-devastating-president-frequent-trump-defender/story?id=59393855
* https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/nov/25/robert-mueller-donald-trump-russia-investigation
* https://www.salon.com/2018/11/28/mueller-probe-nears-a-climax-and-collusion-is-definitely-back-on-the-menu/
* https://www.businessinsider.com/mueller-russia-probe-accelerate-indictments-2018-11?r=UK&IR=T
* https://www.businessinsider.com/mueller-sentencing-memos-manafort-cohen-flynn-2018-12

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37 thoughts on “Is there any reason to believe we are near the endgame?

  1. There is no good reason to think that. This will keep going for years.

    > The Matthew Whitaker business has all but blown over.

    I don’t think that’s accurate. There are multiple pending lawsuits. I think what you’ll see is the senate rushing to confirm somebody less controversial ASAP. If that doesn’t happen I think you’ll start to see the senate break w Trump, but who knows these days.

    > why do I see multiple articles per day talking about how Mueller is nearing the end of the investigation

    clicks

  2. Given that we really don’t know much, I doubt we’re anywhere near the end of this. I wouldn’t even say the Whitaker thing has blown over.

    Just in last couple days it sounds like Korsi might flip and Stone may be indicted. Junior has been telling people he expects to be indicted. Gotta wonder what McGahn has been telling Mueller this whole time. Now that Sessions is out, maybe he’s feeling free to talk (or packing his bags for a no-extradition country)?

  3. You’re seeing those articles because there’s money in writing purely speculative articles about the Mueller investigation. I’ll believe the investigation is over when I hear it from Mueller and his team, not before.

  4. > Why do I see multiple articles per day talking about how Mueller is nearing the end of the investigation, ready to report his findings, etc?

    This has been a WH talking point for ages. Giuliani and others (recently Dershowitz) have been pushing the idea that this is all going to end in a report, when all we’ve actually seen from Mueller is speaking indictments.

  5. What really pisses me off is that Trump and his nasty thug friends and associates keep on committing crimes even as they are being investigated. As it takes longer to investigate a crime than is does to commit one, this investigation is just going to keep going for longer and longer and longer. Maybe that is the plan?

    For fuck sake, Mueller, if you have enough to destroy these people then go ahead and do it. The world can’t wait much longer.

    Trump’s next move may well be to start a war somewhere, the Republicans last act of desperation to save their presidency.

  6. The prediction that Mueller would resume after the elections is still a valid theory. Don’t forget – elections aren’t over. There’s a senate runoff in Mississippi on Tuesday. The policy is that prosecutors shouldn’t take actions that may influence elections in the months leading up to them. A slew of indictments now could do just that.

    Also, even if the endgame doesn’t come in the next month or so it will begin the moment Dems take the House. No matter what there will be immense pressure on Trump by spring- and we all know he cracks hard under pressure.

    The only disappointment some may suffer is that there’s a good chance the ‘endgame’, as you call it, isn’t Trump’s removal from office. There is every chance he will finish his first term. The endgame may well be the destruction of his legacy and a massive erosion of his poll numbers, and his ultimate indictment post-presidency. Personally, I think that’s the better outcome – but it may be disappointing for those who think there’s some way to somehow undo the 2016 election.

  7. Given the style that Mueller is employing we’ll only see it is “at the end” when suddenly you’re hearing about Trump family members being arrested and brought to court. He won’t make his final moves until he makes them all at once. He can’t risk an ultimate reprisal from Trump that would derail everything.

  8. It’s like we’re late somewhere in Act III, where both the protagonist and the antagonists have suffered setbacks, and (usually) the antagonists have revealed their strategy. But, we’ve seen Chekhov’s Gun in Act I, (Trump Tower meeting/Seychelles/Caymans/”Russia, if you’re listening…”) so we anticipate an Act IV, where (unless this is a tragedy) the hero should prevail.

    So no, not endgame. If I were writing a screenplay, I’d block this out as, Whitaker tries to apply friction to the investigation until the Dems take back the house in January and begin investigations in earnest. His endgame is messy, but he’s gone by March for being unable to stop the investigation outright. Trump continues to agitate and spew invective on social media, turning on inner circle allies even as Senate Republicans continue to pack courts and push an unpalatable narrative. Lots of shenanigans around immigration, Dept of Ed., and the 2020 census, which redraws the House apportionment. A combination of House panel hearings and congressional leaks through 2019 lead to talk of dropping Trump from the 2020 ticket in a last minute ditch to appeal to the so-called “moderate right,” but Trump will not cede. He is impeached in the House early in 2020, but the Senate will not take up proceedings until “after the election.” Primaries are an ugly mud fight, with Trump, immigration, health care and taxes being the Issues on both sides. Right wing agitation hits a crescendo headed into Summer 2020.

    Election night 2020 closes on a cliffhanger….

  9. I realize people are excited, antsy and want to see some justice porn. But the fact of the matter is that under normal circumstances, federal investigations take a long time. The FBI recently indicted some neo-nazi assholes a year after the Charlottesville rally. And that’s a small potatoes investigation. Imagine that the FBI is working towards dismantling a worldwide crime syndicate that features multiple billionaires, dozens of important, powerful people, the family of the President of the most powerful country in the world AND the President of the United States himself. How long do you reckon it would take to cross the i’s and dot the t’s on that? Frankly, if anything major happens before Trump is out of office having lost re-election I will be surprised. And finally, this investigation, will go on for at least a decade. AT LEAST. A lot of people will go down before then but there are so many players in this (there must be easily a thousand people to deal with both domestically and internationally) and that requires time. Sorry guys.

  10. I doubt we are close to the endgame. This narrative was being pushed by Rudy Giuliani, in my mind as a pretext to claim something untoward when it inevitably doesn’t end soon. I saw something that there was some legal question about how Whitaker’s appointment affected Mueller, and I doubt any indictment would be unsealed when that question is being argued in court (Mueller’s stuff, not the separate lawsuits about it). But that’s purely speculation on my part. Would love to hear other’s thoughts on that.

  11. I would be surprised if anything major happened before 1/3. After all, it is up to the house to start impeachment proceedings, and the current republican-majority congress is certainly not going to do that. Mueller could have HD video recordings and sworn testimony from the pope that Trump broke the law, and republicans *will not* act on it.

    After the latest batch of (predominantly democrat) reps take their seats, then we are very likely to see some reports and indictments. Any action before then would be foolish on Mueller’s part, because it just gives Trump and his lackeys time to spin the story and make witnesses and evidence go away (one way or another).

  12. I don’t think so. Historically speaking complex investigations like this will playout over more than one presidential term. Also, when we start hearing about the evangelical preachers being interviewed by mueller for taking Russian money then we will be near the end. The most difficult part of this scandal is about prosecuting the preachers wielding Russian money without challenging them as persecution for their religious beliefs.

  13. Since impeachment is a political process and not a legal one, I see no incentive for Mueller to do anything except keep methodically rolling up, squeezing harder as he goes along.

    The higher he rolls up and the harder he squeezes, the more politically untenable Trump’s position will become. Yet curiously, based on Trump’s patterns of behavior, I predict Trump will draw the wrong conclusion from the investigation boiling him at a slow pace. Trump will cling to the hope that the investigation is petering out and will be completely shocked when the time comes for close family members to be indicted.

    The wild card when it comes to timing is almost certainly not Mueller, but the GOP. As Mueller keeps turning over rocks, he may find evidence damning to one or more GOP leaders. If that were to happen, the GOP might suddenly flip harshly on Trump and be desperate to impeach him ASAP.

    In a less criminal White House, Mueller might be reaching a point where there are no more felons to squeeze, no more malfeasance to reveal, no more swamp to drain. But in this White House the supply of ugliness is unlikely to run out any time soon.

    ​

  14. No, and even if we could see an end in sight there’s reasons to be nervous about what it would mean.

    If we actually threw out Trump it could set a bad precedent which could have consequences down the line (Nixon’s pardon was beneficial because it somewhat sidestepped the issue at the time thus setting no precedent).

    If we actually acted to declare Trump’s entire presidency illegitimate and thus his Supreme Court choices as no legal, we could also open up all manner of pitfalls, not the least of which would be what could happen if we politically staged an overthrow of a sitting president and his administration. In the history of the USA this has not yet happened, and it could very well destroy the country if it does.

    Best case is we mitigate damage until 2020 and then once democracy prevails (vote people) we get a reasonable administration into office and begin going after Trump and his cronies with a vengeance. With luck at that point his stolen seats can be pressured to resign from office thus avoiding a ugly political scene where stolen seats and responsible for tipping decisions.

    It’s really a no win situation until 2020.

  15. I can’t prove it, but just going from gut and experience, I’ll eat my left hand if all these “Mueller’s almost done” stories aren’t seeded by Trump people and then picked up by well-meaning outlets.

    It will end when it ends, and that will happen when the Office of the Special Counsel announces it is done.

  16. Remember, any story about Mueller that is not based on papers he has filed in court that we can all read is coming from specific individuals or their attorneys. The stories are not originating from the Mueller side, and the Mueller team is also not responding once the stories are out there.

    People are understandably anxious and frustrated about how long it’s taking. It also doesn’t fit into modern journalism’s breathless, unthinking format. But many of these stories are speculation or simple lies, placed in the media to obtain a specific effect.

  17. There is no reason to believe there is any endgame. Please post links if you have evidence that I am incorrect.

    So far evidence points to little to no end game. Do you remember the billionaire who was fined less than $12 (wealth adjusted)?

    Alex van der Zwaan had a material negative direct affect on the investigation. Fined less than twelve dollars (adjusted to median income). They did that to send a message.

  18. As far as Trump goes I don’t think there will be in endgame. Personally I think they’re just going to take down a bunch of bit players and it won’t affect the actual Trump presidency our administration at all.

  19. People on Trump’s team keep putting out “leaks” saying it will end soon so that Trump can keep claiming it’s taking “too long” and label it a witch hunt. It’s an exhaustion technique that is sadly working exactly as they would hope. People on both sides are asking why it isn’t done yet.

    These types of investigations take a very long time.

  20. It’ll be over when it’s over. Until then, it isn’t over, nor is there any reason to believe it’s near over. This is the most high-profile investigation of widespread, global corruption in American history. It’s going to take time; a lot of time. Rushing it will only hurt the investigation, its credibility, and its chance at being completely successful in upending a massive global conspiracy to seize power on behalf right-wing authoritarians.

    Patience is a virtue.

  21. It seems to make sense that making the most pointed and valuable questions for “the president” would be the thing Mueller would do after gathering all the facts. Considering Thanksgiving just ended, maybe things really are about to get hopping

  22. I don’t see this as anything other than the holding phase before the January change of the House, and that’s when things get started, not when things finish.

    We need to be heading in the right direction (and we may be, with Mueller’s team and the House), but we desire to be at the destination. Some uncomfortable patience will be necessary.

  23. No, because I think an abrupt end to the Trump administration would be very bad for the future of democracy in America. The populist and white supremacist wave needs a vent or they may resort to violence. Well, more violence, like uprising-level violence. I think the only way this ends without bloodshed is in the 2020 election. Assuming Trump accepts the results…

    See;

    [https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/01/world/americas/democracy-brazil-populism.html](https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/01/world/americas/democracy-brazil-populism.html)

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