Robert Mueller
Credit: Medill DC/Flickr

I’ve lost power here at my cabin in the woods and can’t ascertain the cause or get any estimate on when it will be restored. As a result, my laptop computer will soon be useful as a paperweight, and little else. So, this will be brief. The Wall Street Journal has reported that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury to look into the Trump/Russia case.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury in Washington to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections, a sign that his inquiry is growing in intensity and entering a new phase, according to people familiar with the matter.

The grand jury, which began its work in recent weeks, signals that Mr. Mueller’s inquirywill likely continue for months. Mr. Mueller is investigating Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 election and whether President Donald Trump’s campaign or associates colluded with the Kremlin as part of that effort.

I wish there were more specificity than telling us that the grand jury began its work “in recent weeks,” but I guess that means that it didn’t start today and it didn’t start as long as a month ago. It could explain Trump’s recent freakout over Mueller, which has resembled how a wolverine reacts when trapped in a burlap bag.

Also important to note in this brief piece, Congress hardly has the president’s back. Obviously, they just delivered a veto-proof Russians sanctions bill on the president desk that didn’t offer the usual waivers. But, also:

The developments unfolded amid a new sign of concern by Congress that Mr. Mueller’s independence needs to be protected. Sens. Thom Tillis (R., N.C.) and Chris Coons (D., Del.) introduced legislation Thursday making it harder for Mr. Trump to fire Mr. Mueller. Under the legislation, a special counsel could challenge his or her removal, with a three-judge panel ruling within 14 days on whether the firing was justified.

If the panel found no good cause for the firing, the special counsel would immediately be reinstated. The legislation follows a similar effort from Sens. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) and Cory Booker (D., N.J.)

“The introduction of two bills with two different bipartisan pairs strengthens the message that there is broad concern about this,” said Mr. Coons, who said that Mr. Tillis approached him on the Senate floor about teaming up on legislation.

When Republicans from states like North Carolina are walking up to Democrats on the Senate floor and asking for help in nailing the president’s behind to the wall, you know things are serious.

When I know I can write about this and complete my thoughts before my battery dies, I’ll have more to say. I’ll leave you with this:

“This is yet a further sign that there is a long-term, large-scale series of prosecutions being contemplated and being pursued by the special counsel,” said Stephen I. Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas. “If there was already a grand jury in Alexandria looking at Flynn, there would be no need to reinvent the wheel for the same guy. This suggests that the investigation is bigger and wider than Flynn, perhaps substantially so.”

Thomas Zeno, a federal prosecutor for 29 years before becoming a lawyer at the Squire Patton Boggs law firm, said the grand jury is “confirmation that this is a very vigorous investigation going on.”

This is the best hoax ever.

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at