A former Clinton White House Counsel just revealed that Special Counsel Robert Mueller will likely write a second report, which hasn’t been generally discussed, and it’s going to be “larded surely with detailed findings and counterintelligence conclusions.”
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Nelson W. Cunningham served as President Clinton’s special counsel after stints as an SDNY prosecutor and the Senate Judiciary Committee’s general counsel under then-Senator Joe Biden.
Cunningham explained that there will likely be a second Mueller report, one which must be distributed to more recipients than just the Department of Justice — meaning Trump won’t be able to have his loyal minions hide it from Congress and the public.
There may in fact be two Mueller reports. This is because from the very beginning, Mueller has worn two hats and borne two missions relating to the Russia investigation.
The most public and familiar one is as a criminal investigator under the special counsel regulations. But Mueller has also carried a second charge, as a counterintelligence expert, with a much broader charge to determine and report the scope of any interference and any links to the Trump campaign—what Trump himself might refer to as “collusion.”
The experienced DC lawyer revealed that it’s probable that Mueller’s reporting requirements will go well beyond the generally assumed requirements under the Special Counsel regulations because federal statutes require that the findings of his counterintelligence investigation must be disclosed to Congress.
Neither the special counsel regulations nor Attorney General Barr’s discretion will keep Mueller’s counterintelligence findings from Congress.
Significantly, unlike a final criminal report, a Mueller counterintelligence report cannot be bottled up. By statute it must be shared with Congress. The House and Senate intelligence committees are legally entitled to be given reports, in writing, of significant intelligence and counterintelligence activities or failures. Mueller’s findings will certainly qualify.
If the report is given to the House and the Senate intelligence committees, the information in it will certainly find its way to the public — and the public will be able to judge the president for themselves.
Cunningham’s opinion is the first significant explanation of the true impact of the Times‘ bombshell story from earlier this year that revealed President Trump is the target of a counterintelligence investigation, which former Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe subsequently confirmed.
In fact, Cunningham noted that McCabe had to inform the “Gang of Eight” because of those same legal obligations, which were responsible for the intelligence community’s earlier public report about Putin’s plan to help Trump beat Hillary Clinton in 2016.
The Gang of Eight is a group of Senators and Representatives comprising the leadership of both parties and the leadership of both chambers’ intelligence oversight panels.
Only that group of Congresspeople is guaranteed to get the full, unadulterated report including what is sure to be a lot of classified information that will have to be paraphrased or released only in conclusion to the general public.
All signs point to the winding down of Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation including the reassignment of his lead FBI investigator to head the bureau’s Richmond, Virginia office.
With Roger Stone’s trial ongoing and a pair of high-profile grand jury fights still ongoing, nobody thinks that the underlying issues are going away anytime soon, especially because SDNY picked up on the threads of Mueller’s investigation, like their probe into the inaugural committee.
But Nelson W. Cunningham’s shrewd take on the end result of the Special Counsel’s probe means that his report is nearly guaranteed to end with a bang and not a whimper.