When it comes to reading the tea leaves of Robert Mueller‘s Russia investigation, there have been signs now and again from court filings that new developments are on the horizon. There have also been reports that Mueller has begun writing his final report, which is pretty meaningless when you consider how broad in scope this investigation has been and how many people have been ensnared by it.
The simple truth is an obvious one: No one really knows, outside of Mueller and his army of prosecutors, how long this is likely to drag on — and maybe even they don’t have a pinpoint idea of how much work is left to be done. Nowhere was this recently made clearer than with the resurfacing of a certain Axios article.
Rightfully referred to as a “blast from the past,” this piece was headlined “WH lawyer: Mueller probe should end by Thanksgiving.”
This article was from August 2017.
Blast from the past. I guess us reporters should have followed up with WHICH Thanksgiving — 2017, 2018, 2019… https://t.co/CQmpph4GT2
— Shannon Pettypiece (@spettypi) November 19, 2018
Quite humorously, it was Ty Cobb, since departed White House counsel, who made the bold (wishful?) prediction that Mueller’s work should be done by the time everyone carved up last year’s Thanksgiving turkey.
Axios, in fairness to them, was quoting Cobb’s remarks from a Reuters article headlined, “White House lawyer Cobb predicts quick end to Mueller probe.”
“I’d be embarrassed if this is still haunting the White House by Thanksgiving [of 2017] and worse if it’s still haunting him by year end … I think the relevant areas of inquiry by the special counsel are narrow,” Cobb said.
Cobb and that mustache of his must really be blushing.
For one thing, there’s been absolutely nothing to suggest that Mueller’s “relevant areas of inquiry” have been narrow. Secondly, Andy Wright, the associate counsel from Barack Obama‘s White House quoted in the Reuters story, was actually the prescient one here.
“The White House would be lucky if sometime in the spring of 2018 this started to wrap up, but even that I think is pretty optimistic,” Wright said. “It’s a very complicated investigation.”
Anyway… the next time someone tells you that they have certain knowledge that the Mueller probe’s end is imminent, remind them that we won’t know until it happens.
[Image via Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images]