Everyone is convinced Mueller's report is about to drop — here are 5 reasons they might be wrong

Everyone is convinced Mueller's report is about to drop — here are 5 reasons they might be wrong
Robert Mueller/Screengrab
Robert Mueller/Screengrab

Political reporters and observers in Washington, D.C., and beyond were on the edge of their seats Friday, constantly checking their phones and Twitter to see if Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report had dropped.

By midday, there was no news — and Mueller spokesperson Peter Carr was offering no comment. But reporters across many outlets have become increasingly convinced the report is coming "soon." How soon? No one knows, but there was anticipation that it could be this Friday based on... well, nothing solid, it seems.

To be clear, many reporters hang around the Justice Department for much of their work, and they're bound to hear whispers and off-the-record comments from people who are in the know. And many reporters and people familiar with the department have said that there must be preparations made for Attorney General William Barr to receive the report, suggesting that there would be rumors if indeed the report were imminent. So we shouldn't write off rumors as completely baseless.

However, sources, even well-placed sources, can and have been seriously wrong in the past. And rumors can take on a life of their own. Mueller's team has been, by all appearances, a steel trap since it was assembled, so if anyone is able to keep a secret, it's him. And as former federal prosecutor Barbara McQuade pointed out, there are several reasons to think the reporting about Mueller's imminent report are wrong. Here are five, including four cited by McQuade:

1. Redactions in Michael Cohen documents

When a federal court released documents related to the arrest and searches of the former Trump lawyer and fixer, much of the records remained redacted, McQuade noted, allowing them to remain under seal for 60 more days. While this could be protecting ongoing investigations out of the Southern District of New York, it could also be a sign that Mueller's work continues.

2. Rick Gates' sentencing

Gates, a key witness in the probe, recently had his sentencing delayed by another 60 days. That's a sign that he could still be of use to prosecutors in ongoing work, though, again, that work could be separate from the Mueller probe.

3. Andrew Miller and the mystery appellant

The most compelling reason to think Mueller isn't yet done is that he appears to have two ongoing, open cases. The first is a subpoena of Andrew Miller, who was an aide to Roger Stone. The second is known as the "mystery appellant," a company owned by a foreign country that is resisting a subpoena for evidence from Mueller. Why is the special counsel still pursuing these cases if it is wrapping up?

The Atlantic reporter Natasha Bertrand even noted Friday that Mueller is still seeking to have Miller testify before the grand jury, according to his lawyer.

4. Rod Rosenstein is staying on

The deputy attorney general had been expected to leave the department in the middle of March. Now that the middle of March has passed, he's expected to stay on somewhat longer, to act as a "heat shield" for Mueller. That suggests that Mueller, too, will be sticking around at least a bit longer.

5. Jerome Corsi

Observers have long expected Jerome Corsi, a conspiracy theorist and sometime ally of Stone, to be indicted in the investigation. The most compelling reason to think he would be indicted is that he shared a proposed plea agreement, supposedly from Mueller, that would have asked him to plead guilty to crimes. Legal experts say its unlikely Mueller would have offered this deal unless he were prepared to charge these crimes. Presumably, his indictment would come before a final "report" — though it's possible they could be released at the same time.

However, reporters John Karl of ABC News and Pete Williams of NBC News both said this week that internal DOJ sources believe no more Mueller indictments are coming. If this is true, it would be a major victory for Corsi.


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