Published by The Lawfare Institute
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Much attention is being paid to a news report headlined “Mueller Weighs Putting Off Trump Obstruction Decision.” The article claims to be a “peek into Mueller’s calculations” as he supposedly wraps up the obstruction phase of his investigation.
But there is no reason to believe that the article reports what Special Counsel Robert Mueller is actually thinking. It does not say that the authors spoke to anyone from the special counsel’s office (indeed, the story reports that his office declined to comment) or even anyone familiar with their deliberations. Instead, the only sourcing is to “current and former U.S. officials,” without any indication that those officials have actual knowledge of what the special counsel is thinking. Rather, the article simply describes a series of strategic considerations that Mueller “may” take into account.
It is clear by now that Mueller’s team does not talk—not on the record, off the record or for deep background. No one knew that Mueller was about to indict 13 Russians until it happened. No one knew that a lawyer who worked with Paul Manafort and Rick Gates would be charged until he pleaded guilty. There is no reason to believe that anyone at the special counsel’s office would share their thinking in this instance.
In other words, the article is likely no more than an analysis of how a responsible prosecutor might approach the decisions Mueller is going to have to make. To date, Mueller and his team have conducted themselves with admirable professionalism and confidentiality, and there is every reason to believe they will continue to do so.