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Mueller Is About to Drop New Info in Russia Probe, and Trump Looks Very, Very Worried


President Donald Trump kicked off his Friday morning with a series of tweets attacking Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team of prosecutors. This comes just hours before Mueller is expected to release two crucial documents related to his investigation of Trump campaign ties to Russia.

Not a good sign. Certainly not a good look.

Trump kicked things off by railing against Mueller for being friends with former FBI Director James Comey, and for allegedly having “Conflict of Interest.”

He went on to bring up prosecutor Andrew Weissman, the rest of Mueller’s team that he describes as 17 Angry Democrats, and others who he feels should really be the ones being investigated. Those include the Clinton Foundation, leakers, Comey, former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and DOJ official Bruce Ohr.

For sure, the sentiment in these tweets is no surprise. Trump has long railed against many of these figures. The timing and the number of these tweets, however, tell me that Trump is nervous about what’s coming later today, so he feels he needs to get ahead of the story by trying to discredit those who could be doing him harm.

Legal Twitter has certainly taken notice.

The concern appears to be over Mueller’s two upcoming court filings. One is Mueller’s sentencing memo for former Trump attorney Michael Cohen. Cohen pleaded guilty recently to lying about the timeline of negotiations regarding a real estate deal Trump was working on in Russia. While Cohen had initially said the deal was dead in January 2016, he has since admitted that he was still in touch with Russian officials as late as June of that year, well into Trump’s presidential campaign. Those talks even included discussions of bringing Trump to Russia, Cohen said.

Like Mueller’s recent sentencing memo for former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, the Cohen memo could shed some light on developments that have taken place in Mueller’s ongoing investigation. Much of Flynn’s memo was redacted, but it did reveal that Mueller was quite satisfied with his cooperation, and it showed that Flynn helped with multiple investigations, not just Mueller’s Russia probe. How Mueller describes Cohen’s cooperation, and his sentencing recommendation, could be telling, even if the details are not made public.

Perhaps more significant is the other filing expected to drop on Friday. Mueller is expected to reveal details of what former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort allegedly lied about when he was supposed to be cooperating with the Special Counsel’ Office following his plea agreement. Not only is Manafort accused of lying to investigators, he has a joint defense agreement with Trump that has resulted in lawyers for the two men discussing what Manafort has learned about Mueller’s investigation as a result of his talks with them.

The significance of this is that if Manafort lied to protect Trump, or if he said he’d cooperate with Mueller just so he could get dirt on the Russia probe and report back to the president, that could bolster any case Mueller might have against Trump for obstruction of justice. The substance of Manafort’s alleged lies could shed light on whether this is a likely scenario.

Trump may think he’s staying ahead of Mueller by attacking his credibility before this information gets out, but it really has the opposite effect. We all know something is coming soon, but we don’t know what. Trump’s behavior this morning only says one thing: he’s really, really worried.

Ronn Blitzer is the Senior Legal Editor of Law&Crime and a former New York City prosecutor. Follow him on Twitter @RonnBlitzer.

[Image via Win McNamee/Getty Images]

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

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