Robert Mueller
Credit: Pete Souza/Wikimedia Commons

I don’t know what relationships Juliette Kayyem retains in the intelligence community, but I imagine she still has some extensive connections. She has served as Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, as well as Undersecretary for Homeland Security in her home state of Massachusetts. She was an adviser to Janet Reno when Reno was serving as President Clinton’s Attorney General. She also acted as Rep. Richard Gephardt’s appointee to the National Commission on Terrorism in 1999 and 2000. It’s unlikely that she doesn’t have sources with at least some kind of insight into what’s going on inside Robert Mueller’s shop at the Justice Department.

Or, maybe, she’s just guessing like the rest of us. But it’s her opinion that the reason we’re seeing the Republicans ramp up their attacks on the FBI and the Steele Dossier is because they know something is going down soon and it’s not going to be good.

National security expert Juliette Kayyem is predicting news from Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation will be announced within the next month.

“I think it is safe to say that before Thanksgiving … something’s going to drop with Mueller,” she said on Boston Public Radio today. “The pace is too much right now. Every 12 hours we’re now dealing with a piece of this story at a pace we haven’t seen.”

Kayyem was prompted to make her prediction by the buzz surrounding a story about how Hillary Clinton’s campaign funded what would eventually become the famous “Trump-Russia Dossier” that surfaced in January…

…Kayyem speculated that the pace of stories critical of Hillary Clinton represents “a recognition by the White House team” that Mueller is getting close to something substantive as a result of his investigation.

Kayyem pointed out that Mueller has interviewed former Press Secretary Sean Spicer and former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.

“This is so close to the Oval Office now, if not in the Oval Office, that all of this [dossier news] to me is just background noise to what Mueller is going to deliver,” she said. “This is more than an obstruction charge. There is something big underlying the obstruction.”

It’s true that we’re seeing a pivot now. For a long time, Trump was seemingly acting out of a compulsion to comment on and dismiss the Russia investigation. But then he got new lawyers and went quiet. His attorney Ty Cobb seemed to be pursuing a strategy of conspicuous cooperation, where the story was that they had nothing to hide.

This seemed to work in tamping down the attention the media paid to the story. Perhaps it earned some good will from Mueller’s shop, too, for whatever that might be worth. But something has changed this week. It could be nothing more than the timing of the disclosure that the Clinton campaign indirectly funded the investigation that led to the Steele Dossier. But it could also signal that the Trump administration knows that something is coming down on them soon and that they need to change over from cooperating and legitimizing the investigation to undermining the independence of its conclusions.

I feel pretty confident that Mueller is preparing on his end as well, which is why I think we learned that they’re looking into John Podesta’s brother and his lobbying firm’s compliance issues. It wouldn’t do to indict Manafort for offenses that Tony Podesta also committed. If Mueller wants to avoid the appearance that he’s acting in a partisan manner, he’ll want to take a piece out of the Democrats’ hide, too. When I saw that Tony Podesta was under scrutiny, I took that as a sign that something is coming soon and that it will hit the Trump folks like a ton of bricks.

But I also expect the first salvos to be at Manafort and Flynn rather than at Trump. Unless they’re helping Mueller build a massive case against the president, I can’t see how they can escape criminal charges or why they wouldn’t be first in line. In a way, the longer they go without being indicted, the worse news it is for the administration.

In any case, I think we’ll see something before Thanksgiving. Whether Juliette Kayyem has inside information or not, I suspect that she is right about that.

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Martin Longman

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