The Washington Post reports: With a guilty plea and a 31-page indictment, Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III spoke volumes more than months of heated public debate about the Russia probe. Without saying a word, Mueller’s message was clear, according to veteran lawyers: he isn’t bluffing, and witnesses are talking.
The double-barreled court filings ratchet up the pressure on everyone under scrutiny in the special counsel’s probe, lawyers said, in part because they show that a former Trump campaign adviser began cooperating with the FBI three months ago.
“This is the way you kick off a big case,’’ said Patrick Cotter, a white-collar defense lawyer in Chicago who once worked as a federal prosecutor in New York alongside Andrew Weissmann, who is spearheading the prosecution of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates.
On the same day an indictment was unsealed against President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, prosecutors also announced a guilty plea from former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos about his interactions with people linked to the Russian government. Papadopoulos has admitted to lying to FBI agents who questioned him about those contacts, according to court records.
“Oh, man, they couldn’t have sent a message any clearer if they’d rented a revolving neon sign in Times Square,’’ Cotter said. “And the message isn’t just about Manafort. It’s a message to the next five guys they talk to. And the message is: ‘We are coming, and we are not playing, and we are not bluffing.’ ’’ [Continue reading…]