What’s Next for the Russia Probe?

Is Donald Trump about to get away with election fraud, or worse, treason? That’s what some fear as a shake-up at the Department of Justice imperils the future of Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia.

The question of whether campaign officials or Trump himself colluded with Russia in the course of the 2016 race is one with major implications –  especially now that politicians are starting to position for the 2020 election.

So what’s next for the Russia investigation?

Here’s one thing we know for sure: When Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned under pressure from the White House, his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, should have taken over in an acting role. Instead, he was replaced by Matt Whitaker, Sessions’ former chief of staff.

If that sounds a little out of order to you, it should — but there’s a reason for it. Rosenstein was overseeing the Mueller investigation, and Whitaker has commented on multiple occasions that he thinks the probe is a “witch hunt.”

And, surprise! Whitaker, who once suggested that the Department of Justice could starve the investigation of resources to shut it down, is likely to take over for Rosenstein.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has called on Whitaker to recuse himself, given his previous comments.

But let’s say he doesn’t — which would be in line with the general disinterest in the rule of law exhibited by Trump officials. Like many other people in the Trump administration, Whitaker rose to this role because the president thinks he has something to offer – making the Russia investigation go away – and he’s about to be under intense pressure to make that happen.

One option would be to curtail the investigation, which could be accomplished in a number of ways. Whitaker could attack the funding, certainly, but he could also put limitations on the scope of Mueller’s powers — including rejecting requests from Mueller.

These tactics could make it difficult, or impossible, to conduct an unbiased investigation and return meaningful information about Trump’s Russia connections.

A report that’s limited in scope could still be somewhat useful, but a chokehold on Mueller’s office would likely make it more difficult to indict people involved in the investigation. And it might make it challenging to target Trump for obstruction of justice — a charge that could be quite sticky in the event of an impeachment hearing.

Whitaker could also try to shut it down. This isn’t as simple as flipping a switch on “the Russia investigation” because it’s actually spawned a whole sprawl of related investigations — including some that are already making their way through the legal system. It may be functionally impossible, suggests former FBI agent Asha Rangappa, to actually stop what’s already been set in motion.

But Whitaker can still make an attempt.

That’s something that might come back to haunt Trump. Senate Republicans are already restless over his treatment of Sessions, a long-time colleague — and they’re speaking out in warning, saying Trump can’t use this opportunity to try and quash the investigation.

Whether they’ll make good on their promises to support the investigation remains to be seen, but their comments seem to suggest that it won’t be smooth sailing if Trump tries to sweep this one under the rug.

What You Can Do

If you’re concerned about the future of the Russia investigation, contact your senators and ask them to defend the integrity of Robert Mueller’s probe. Stress the importance of an impartial, unbiased investigation that works independently, with sufficient funding to function and the tools it needs to follow up any and all paths of possible interest.

In addition, rallies are planned to take place across the U.S. at 5 p.m. local time on Thursday, November 8. You can look up details on local events at Nobody Is Above the Law.

Photo Credit: Ted Eytan/Flickr

53 comments

Emma L
Emma L4 months ago

Thank you for sharing

SEND
Linda Wallace
Linda Wallace4 months ago

Thank you.

SEND
hELEN hEARFIELD
hELEN h4 months ago

tyfs

SEND
Danuta W
Danuta W4 months ago

Thanks for sharing

SEND
Carole R
Carole R4 months ago

I fear this will drag on and on and eventually not much will come of it. I worry we will never know the whole truth.

SEND
Brian F
Brian F4 months ago

The Democrats never should have picked Hillary who repulses people. Bernie Sanders would be our president if the Democrats had picked him from the start, instead of Hillary who refused to support Medicare for all, marijuana legalization, supports world wide natural gas fracking, Monsanto, the Iraq war, and took 22 million from Wall Street.

SEND
Robert Fitzgerald
Robert Fitzgerald4 months ago

In the Bible, the term antiChrist was also said to mean "the lawless one." In addition he is one who sees himself as better than god and takes it upon himself to sit in god's seat. This sounds an awful like like Trump to me.

SEND
Mike Kelly
Mike K4 months ago

Hopefully House Democrats can now make public the evidence and testimony that republicans are hiding. I realize that that will upset Brian F, Care2's resident, troll. He's now proclaiming that we should just leave the piles of evidence in the republican vault and pretend with him that Bernie Sanders agrees.

Monotonous drivel from a sophomoric boy.


SEND
Shelley w
Shelley w4 months ago

The only collusion with Russia was Hillary's investment into the dirty Dossier based on Russian lies that was used to start the Mueller investigation in the first place. There was never any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia and all of the indictments resulting from Mueller's investigation have nothing to do with collusion or obstruction of justice in almost 2 years of investigation with an army of Democratic lawyers. There are going to be more indictments and firings of high ranking FBI and DOJ officials from the Oboma corrupt administration. There have already been 5 of them. This should be coming over the next few months as records are released shedding light on this corruption and stain on our democracy.

SEND
Alea C
Alea C4 months ago

I'm extremely concerned, but I live in Florida where we're still working on recounts for our democratic senator Nelson, and Revolting Rubio is a huge Trump devotee.

SEND