Mueller's First Target Could Be in Custody Monday

Trump slams 'witch hunt,' tries to turn focus to Clinton
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 30, 2017 5:25 AM CDT
Updated Oct 30, 2017 6:26 AM CDT
First Mueller Target Could Be Taken Into Custody Monday
In this Oct. 6, 2017 photo, President Trump speaks in the East Room of the White House.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Trump departs for a 12-day trip to Asia on Friday—but he has to get through what could be an extremely tricky week in Washington first. The first charges have been filed in Robert Mueller's investigation into alleged Russian election-meddling, and at least one of the special counsel's targets could be in custody as soon as Monday, sources tell the Wall Street Journal. The apparently imminent move to indict from Mueller has left Washington tense ahead of a planned Republican push for tax reform. In other developments:

  • Angry tweets. In a series of angry tweets Sunday, President Trump slammed the Mueller probe as a "witch hunt" and tried to shift focus to what he described as "so much GUILT by Democrats/Clinton" on issues like Clinton's emails. He later added: "All of this "Russia" talk right when the Republicans are making their big push for historic Tax Cuts & Reform. Is this coincidental? NOT!"
  • Collusion. Trump has refused to accept intelligence agencies' conclusion that Russia interfered in the election to assist him, the AP reports. He has suggested that the real collusion story is the sale of uranium to Russia when Clinton was secretary of State.
  • A "criminal violation." Republicans are accusing Mueller of bias and wondering who leaked news of the indictments to CNN. "There are very, very strict laws on grand jury secrecy, so depending on who leaked this to CNN, that’s a criminal violation, potentially," Chris Christie said on CNN's State of the Union, per the Washington Post. Other Republicans said it is time for Mueller to step down, though Rep. Trey Gowdy, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, called for patience. "I would encourage my Republican friends—give the guy a chance to do his job," Gowdy said on Fox News Sunday.
  • Paul Manafort or Mike Flynn? Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff was among those predicting that Mueller's first target is either Trump's former national security adviser or his former campaign chairman, the Hill reports. "There are two people I think ... it is likely to be, either Mike Flynn or Paul Manafort," Schiff said on ABC’s This Week. "We haven't been informed of who it is, and I don't think it would been appropriate for Bob Mueller to tell us."

  • Fishy wire transfers. According to BuzzFeed, the FBI's investigation of Manafort is focusing on 13 suspicious wire transfers made in 2012 and 2013. The transfers, which involved a total of around $3 million, were flagged by financial institutions as suspicious. At least some of them are believed to be related to Manufort's work for a pro-Russia political party in Ukraine.
  • Tax reform. House Republicans still plan to release a draft version of a tax reform bill this week, reports Politico, which predicts that Monday could be one of the most "politically consequential" days of Trump's presidency. "I don't think it’s helpful, but how detrimental I don't know," a senior White House official said of the indictment. "People are looking to do tax reform for their own reasons, they’re not doing it to help the administration."
  • Trump cooperation. A White House lawyer says Trump is cooperating with the Mueller probe and his tweets about Clinton and the Democrats are not connected to the investigation. The tweets were "unrelated to the activities of the Special Counsel, with whom he continues to cooperate," Ty Cobb said, per Reuters.
(More Robert Mueller stories.)

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