What 2019 Holds for the Mueller Investigation

Elena Naze, Chief Editor

Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation concerning Russian interference in the 2016 election may be nearing its end, as Mueller is expected to submit a confidential report to the attorney general in mid-February.

The question that has been raised throughout the investigation is whether or not Trump, or anyone around him, conspired with the Russians during the election to help him in his campaign. However, Mueller has not made anything concerning the possibility of collusion with Russia public. Although he did confirm that Trump’s lawyers negotiated a possible Trump Tower in Moscow during the 2016 election, and that Trump was aware of the plans. 

So what does 2019 hold for the Mueller investigation? Manafort is likely to be sentenced in early 2019; which means that during his hearings, it is possible that new details about President Trump’s possible collusion might be uncovered.

Former national security advisor, Michael Flynn, will most likely be sentenced after his decision was held back in December. This could be another possible tactic that the Justice Department is employing in the hope of getting more information out of Flynn. 

Roger Stone, a long time advisor to President Trump, said multiple times during the 2016 election that he was in direct contact with WikiLeaks, which during the election published Democratic documents that were stolen by Russia. He had claimed he never had contact with them once investigators contacted him, despite private DMs with WikiLeaks exchanged over Twitter back in 2016.

Stone is also refusing to turn on Trump, saying, “there’s no circumstance on which I would testify against the president.”

Despite this, the Mueller team has had a large success rate in getting the supposed Trump allies to flip on him, using criminal charges as a bargaining method. Stone even told NPR that he thinks he might be indicted. If he is, he could face a high profile trial and possible jail time.  

The tell-tale sign that the investigation is coming to a close is that Mueller is moving forward on sentencing the convicted. Which, is because prosecutors generally wait to sentence cooperating witnesses to have leverage over them in court 

And because 2019 holds a Democrat controlled house, the Democratic party has earned the power to subpoena witnesses and start hearings; because of the fierce Democratic support of the investigation, there will likely be a large number of subpoenas.

Finally, when Jeff Sessions resigned due to Trump’s request, a new candidate for Attorney General, and by default the person who oversees the Mueller investigation, will have to be named. Currently the position is held by Matthew Whitaker, the previous Chief of Staff to Sessions. Many were concerned that Trump was using him as a way to take control of the investigation.

Now, Trump has a new pick for Attorney General, William Barr. Barr served as the Attorney General during the Bush administration. He is expected to have a confirmation hearing early this year in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

As 2019 starts, the Mueller investigation continues in full swing. But the big question still remains: What are President Trump’s ties to Russia and is he guilty of collusion?