, 33 tweets, 7 min read Read on Twitter
(THREAD) BREAKING: CNN says "AG Barr is preparing to announce as early as next week the completion of Mueller's Russia probe—with plans for Barr to submit to Congress soon after a summary of Mueller's confidential report." I unpack the news in this thread. cnn.com/2019/02/20/pol…
1/ The first important thing is to understand that—as NBC has done with a similar report over the last two days—CNN hedged its bets on its report in every way possible:

(a) Barr's actions are merely "preparations."
(b) CNN treats the news as merely an "indication" of the future.

(c) If true, it means Mueller's "nearly" done.
(d) "The precise timing of the announcement is subject to change."
(e) "The scope and contours of what Barr will send to Congress remain unclear."
(f) "Also unclear is how long it'll take Justice to prepare what it will submit."
3/ As someone who teaches journalism as well as legal advocacy, I'd say that's a heck of a lot of hedging. We got the same thing—admittedly on a more sparse report—from NBC's Pete Williams yesterday when he said "it's just our [NBC's] speculation" as to when Mueller will finish.
4/ A last hedge from CNN—and previously NBC—is that neither Justice nor Mueller will comment on these reports, and the sources are (of course) anonymous, so we have no idea how strong the sourcing is. The sources are at Justice—but whether they're in-the-know/biased we can't say.
5/ Some of CNN's report is rehashed—reading signs about Mueller possibly finishing up it's noted before (e.g., 4 of Mueller's 17 prosecutors being reassigned). CNN also says it saw "special counsel's office employees carry boxes and push a cart full of files out of their office."
6/ In making that second observation (about files leaving Mueller's office), CNN issued a *warning* about how we should understand what's happening—noting that the movement of files may signal a "hand-off" of certain cases (to other federal prosecutors) rather than their closure.
7/ This is why some inexact language being used by very good reporters at CNN should be checked, including one journalist who said (erroneously) that this report, if true, meant "the completion of the Russia investigation." If we know one thing, we know that that's not accurate.
8/ One reason many attorneys (me, Preet Bharara, and many others) saw Mueller delivering a report to DOJ this summer rather than this spring—keeping in mind that when *we* see it, and how much of it we see, is a different matter—is because certain things can't be wrapped up yet.
9/ Russian spy Maria Butina's boyfriend Paul Erickson was just charged, and we don't know what he'll reveal; Roger Stone was just charged, and we don't know what he'll reveal; Manafort may face new charges or may balk when he gets his sentence, so we don't know what he'll reveal.
10/ Mueller's office previously told Jerome Corsi it would indict him, and that still hasn't happened; Congress has sent transcripts to Mueller indicating felony perjury or lying to Congress by Erik Prince, Donald Trump Jr. and others, and those charges have not yet been brought.
11/ Mueller is still fighting with one individual and one corporation to compel grand jury testimony, and just extended his grand jury 6 months, so those matters must be litigated, as must outstanding subpoenas for document production—apparently internationally—that Mueller sent.
12/ Even taking all this—and more—into account, Mueller is entitled to issue a "final" report saying who he prosecuted, who he *plans to prosecute* or *is about to prosecute*, and who he chose not to prosecute (which could include the president, non-prosecuted due to DOJ regs).
13/ So a "final" report from Robert Mueller could be issued at the same time as any number of indictments are brought or pursued, with DOJ knowing that Mueller's office will have to supplement any "final" report with anything it learns from current or future indicted individuals.
14/ At the same time, as DOJ doesn't comment on ongoing investigations, any "hand-off" cases that go to other federal prosecutors (say at SDNY, EDVA or DC) will not necessarily be addressed in any "final" report, or, if mentioned, may appear partly or wholly redacted pre-release.
15/ What those who've been reporting that Mueller is close to issuing a final report have been saying is simply that: that he's close to issuing a "final report." That doesn't mean "the Russia investigation is complete" in anything like the way most people will hear that phrase.
16/ We also know that Robert Mueller may or may not close (or be involved with, or even know about) every *counterintelligence* case that may remain open about Trump and his campaign—possibly leading to new criminal cases down the line—as opposed to Mueller's *criminal* inquiry.
17/ Mueller's report, if indeed issued in March, could include information that leads to new counterintelligence investigations, new criminal investigations, new Congressional hearings that lead to new security concerns and new criminal referrals—we just have no idea whatsoever.
18/ We don't know if Mueller was forced to end his work by Barr; if Mueller chose not to indict certain Trump compatriots because they're cooperating witnesses in an impeachable-offense (collusion-related) allegation against Trump; if Mueller handed off explosive cases, or what.
19/ The upshot: lawyers and investigators (or, like me, lawyers and former investigators) have consistently said that *on the facts* Mueller can't be done with his work or even 3 months from done; CNN and MSNBC are reporting that *administratively* Mueller may be closing up shop.
20/ So if the reports are right, as @neal_katyal says we're only at the "end of the beginning," not the end of the end. And depending upon how and why we got here now, and what Mueller says in his report—or else sees redacted—we may well be at the beginning of a year of scandals.
21/ I'm only scratching the surface of this topic here. We still may have up to 20 sealed indictments per the DC docket (or none, or more) and even CNN notes that "even with signs of a wrap-up, the DC US Attorney's office has stepped in to work on cases that may continue longer."
22/ Just one probe *alone*—of Trump's inaugural committee—has many of the same witnesses as the Russia investigation "proper" (e.g., Barrack, Flynn, Gates, and more), so how and whether charges emanate from those cases will determine how much more such cases produce on collusion.
23/ Certainly, we know that people like Flynn and Gates have provided the feds with enormous cooperation with secret intel only they (or they and few people) have—and we've seen *no indictments* from that information, which means other shoes *have* to drop. That's how this works.
24/ So if you're seeing attorneys scrambling a bit here, it's because reporters have the easy job in this instance—simply saying whether they're hearing a report is coming—and attorneys the much harder job: to explain how that could be the case when it *factually* makes no sense.
25/ (And/or to explain how the news the reporters are reporting doesn't actually mean what some of the reporters are implying—as I've tried to do here by emphasizing how many different explosive directions this situation could go in over the next month, many harrowing for Trump.)
PS/ Those of us *also* in the midst of researching books are in a particularly fraught place—as we need to get our research done and *know* a book-length treatise is required to explain what's happened, but *also* know how bad the truth is and that therefore this isn't near over.
PS2/ For instance, I did a thread a week ago summarizing that we have *all ends* of an illegal "quid pro quo" of pre-election collusion involving the Trump campaign and an Israeli business intelligence operation that successfully sold Trump Jr. on a Saudi-funded disinfo campaign.
PS3/ So (taking that as just one example of many), I could take today's news as meaning that Trump Jr. will be charged with Lying to Congress by March and then leaned on for more info on Wikistrat/Psy-Group; that this is all part of the ongoing counterintel op; or something else.
PS4/ I can't give you an answer on where these clear lines of federal inquiry are going, and neither can anyone else—but I know they exist and I know they cannot and will not be blithely closed with a simple report in March. *Many* of these threads are *far* too explosive to end.
PS5/ For all we know, Robert Mueller will dump tons of raw intel into the laps of Congress and the CIA and tell them to investigate it all because he doesn't want to exceed his mandate. We just can't know now and *won't* know for many, many more months—and maybe not even in 2019.
NOTE/ Having said that, should Mueller give DOJ a report that Barr then publishes—redacted—suggesting no illegal pre-election conspiracy with foreign powers, I'll be happy to publish PROOF OF CONSPIRACY to show America what Barr would have had to redact to reach his "conclusion."
NOTE2/ I should've added that IF Barr prematurely shut down Mueller (as the spouse of Trump's Director of Strategic Communications somehow "knew" on Twitter)—but which I DON'T think is what this is—it goes without saying that protestors shutting down D.C. is the only option left.
Missing some Tweet in this thread?
You can try to force a refresh.

Like this thread? Get email updates or save it to PDF!

Subscribe to Seth Abramson
Profile picture

Get real-time email alerts when new unrolls are available from this author!

This content may be removed anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Follow Us on Twitter!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!