Reports that the 'Russia investigation is over' could mean anything … almost literally anything
Though it was easy to dismiss rumors earlier this week that Robert Mueller was about turn over a report to new Attorney General William Barr, those rumors just keep coming. And they’re looking increasingly un-rumor-like. CNN is now reporting that Barr is preparing to speak to Congress as early as Feb. 25, at which time he will announce an end to the Russia investigation.
On the one hand, this seems impossible. Not only does the special counsel’s office have half a hundred threads still unresolved, but the office is actually before the Supreme Court right now to force testimony by that mystery foreign company. Michael Flynn has not been sentenced. Roger Stone’s case is barely underway. Nothing has come of the information on the Moscow Project, no indictments have resulted from the sweetheart deal given Flynn … this simply can’t be the end. An announcement that the Russia investigation “is over” clearly makes no sense. Because it’s not over. So what could this possibly mean?
The Intermedio: Barr reports that Mueller has issued an interim report?
A number of rumors have suggested that the special counsel’s office was going to produce an “interim report,” perhaps one dealing with just the collusion aspect. But there are several problems with that idea. First, neither special counsels or special investigators have produced such reports in the past. Yes, they’ve turned over reports to the Justice Department and then spent literally years nailing down all the details and turning off the lights, but they’ve never turned in a report, then gone on to do something else significant. Based on past experience, if it’s over, it’s over. And Mueller has demonstrated a strong dedication to following department rules and guidelines.
The Semisonic*: The investigation ends because Barr shuts it down?
That this action is happening one week after William Barr settled in at the DOJ cannot be coincidence. One possibility is that, while Matthew Whitaker wrote public articles on how to shut down the Mueller investigation, it took someone with the gravitas of Barr to pull the switch. It could be over … because Barr says it’s over.