Boy, there has been a ton of speculation. Trump foes would like to see Mueller show how all these indictments and guilty pleas are connected into one grand conspiracy, making impeachment inevitable. Trump supports are looking for exoneration of Trump. I have opined that it seems unlikely that the investigation will end anytime soon. I particularly like the view presented by Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor and the host of On Topic podcast, as published in Time Magazine this week (Dec 17 issue):
“As America anxiously awaits special counsel Robert Mueller’s so-called final report and proof of “collusion”, it should be very wary of two truths: Mueller may never write a full “final report”, and any bombshells he reveals are unlikely to outline a grand conspiracy. This will not be a failure of the investigation but rather of our own expectations.”
He goes on to state that federal prosecutors aren’t historians or journalists. He also points out there can not be a charge of “collusion” with Russian agents by the Trump campaign, because the word has no legal meaning. He also states, “it is hard to imagine any federal prosecutor would ever charge the extensive conspiracy imagined by Trump’s critics.” Mariotti’s view is Mueller’s team has already been successful, with a careful, targeted approach. The American electorate has become become either apathetic or numb (neither words used by Mariotti) as he writes:
At any other time in American history, the President’s lawyer telling a federal judge under oath that the President directed him to commit a crime might have ended that presidency. Yet that detail has been forgotten amid the daily avalanche of Trump-related news.
The overload of news, mixed with commentary and outright misinformation, principally from Trump and his legal team, is the way it will be until the end. It is getting hard to swallow the idea that Cohen, Manafort, Flynn and now Maria Butina are all lying to get lighter sentences.
The more Trump lashes out at the Mueller investigation, the more certain there were serious crimes committed by Russian agents, campaign officials, and others, which may include the Trump Foundation and Trump’s Inaugural Committee. Most knowledgeable attorneys, like Mariotti, state that under Department of Justice written opinion, a sitting President can not be charged with crimes. So, any final report would not contain crimes that Trump could be charged with.
The essay by Mariotti ends with a warning similar to his opening statement: “… if Mueller finds evidence of narrower crimes and is considered a failure, the failure won’t be on him. It will be on us, for our own outsize expectations, which just might save Trump’s presidency.”
I believe the report will be simply a summary of concluded successful prosecutions. It is not coming anytime soon. If it doesn’t make a strong case for obstruction of justice by Trump, then it would be best for Democrats not to waste their time on this.
In this case, Trump’s way out of the White House would be through the same way he came in, through the election process.