For nearly a year before Mueller's appointment, leaks had spread about collusion between
Most of these collusion stories, as we now know, originated with
After almost a year, Mueller has offered no evidence that Trump colluded with the Russians. Aside from former Trump campaign chairman
The Obama administration did the same in 2015, when it used
Since Mueller's investigation began, a number of top
With the exception of former FBI Director
Mueller is reaching the crossroads of his investigation and faces at least four critical decisions.
One, Mueller can wind up his investigations now. He can write a report affirming that he has found no evidence while conducting his originally assigned inquiry:
Two, Mueller might pause and await Inspector General
Three, Mueller could continue to investigate anyone close to the Trump campaign for another year. If he did that, he would confirm that his inquiry has descended into a political cause. If Mueller calibrates the release of his findings to the fall midterm elections, he will be hailed by Trump opponents as a crusading prosecutor -- despite finding nothing related to collusion. A Democratic takeover of
Four, Mueller could more evenly apply his investigations of lying, obstruction of justice and collusion during the 2016 campaign. That way, he would reassure the country of equal treatment of all under the law.
For example, in his search for instances of lying, Mueller might also re-examine the false testimonies given to investigators by McCabe and by Clinton aides
In his search for Russian collusion, Mueller might also investigate Steele,
In his search for obstruction of justice, Mueller might also investigate whether top DOJ and FBI officials deliberately misled the FISA Court before and during after the 2016 election cycle by withholding evidence that the Steele dossier was flawed.
In his search for felonious behavior concerning the leaking of classified documents, Mueller might determine:
1) Whether the memos regarding presidential conversations that Comey leaked to the press were classified;
2) Whether former top national security and intelligence officials -- among them
3) Whether FBI officials such as Comey and McCabe leaked confidential findings from their investigations to the press during the 2016 campaign and lied to investigators about it.
If the special counsel's investigation has turned into a political cause, Mueller will no doubt prefer the third option. That is, Mueller's report (and possibly more indictments of minor campaign aides) would likely appear shortly before the midterm elections. If