Watergate alums explain why they think Mueller's 'spawling' probe will unleash more indictments
Special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and the extent of involvement of President Donald Trump's campaign in that interference, has won a massive number of indictments, convictions, and guilty pleas — over 30 in all.
But as legendary Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein and Nixon White House Counsel John Dean told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Thursday, Mueller may not even be done charging people.
"It's been a huge, sprawling investigation," said Bernstein. "And Trump has been somewhat successful in saying to his true believers and to the media that the issue is 'collusion,' and that's it ... I don't think that's really the case."
"I think we're going to see a real report about a counterintelligence investigation," he added, "But I also think there is a very real question of whether we're going to see more indictments around the time this report comes in ... a lot of the investigation has turned, as we can see from what Mueller has released in his findings before the courts, has turned on the testimony of others who are cooperating with his investigation. And there is reason to believe that there's really more information there that we're going to see." Bernstein suggested that the president's dealings with his former campaign chair Paul Manafort, who was just sentenced to 7 years in prison, could go deeper than the public yet knows.
Later in the segment, Dean concurred.
"I'm with Carl on believing there may be more indictments," he said. "I've felt that all along. He has been building various cases in other indictments, conspiracy cases. And we have witnesses like [former Manafort associate Rick] Gates who they've asked to hold off for 60 days until they complete the work with him. There are other witnesses that are out there. I just don't see a wrap on it at this time.
"You're saying more indictments meaning, he that would not actually give a report at this stage? Or would he give the report at the same time as indictments are announced?" asked Cooper.
"It could be simultaneously," said Dean. He added that it's possible the White House is orchestrating the rumors to discredit the investigation as dragging its feet, but added, "I think that more indictments are coming, and I think they'll be broad-based, and there'll be a general conspiracy indictment that'll pull a lot of this together."
Veteran journalist @carlbernstein and former White House counsel John Dean say they think more indictments will likely drop around the time the Mueller report is released https://t.co/olq6ZZzNQr pic.twitter.com/fDlb7byuD0
— CNN (@CNN) March 22, 2019
For what it's worth, everything about the remainder of Mueller's investigation is pure speculation. ABC's Jonathan Karl, for instance, suggests that sources close to the probe don't believe any more indictments will be issued. There is much that is not publicly known yet — but the whole affair has nonetheless been damaging for Trump's presidency, and that damage could easily not be done.