According to Michael Caputo, the Special Counsel Is Spearfishing

Rudy Giuliani isn’t the only one making news lately. While he was busy traveling around to various Fox News shows in his role as one of Trump’s lawyers, Michael Caputo was talking about his interview with special counsel investigators. To remind you of Caputo’s role in the whole Trump-Russia probe, you might want to read the piece that Marty wrote about him almost a year ago.

Caputo had some fascinating things to say about the status and scope of the Mueller investigation.

During an interview with Anderson Cooper, Caputo expounded on the “net fishing” vs “spearfishing” metaphor.

I was in the Senate Intelligence Committee with their investigators Tuesday, and they were still fishing around. They reminded me of net fishing. They’re just throwing things out there hoping they can get something in. If we’re working with a fishing metaphor, I’d say the Mueller team is spearfishing. They believe they know where they’re going, not asking a wide range of questions that seem to be unrelated. They know exactly what they are looking for and they have emails backing it up. And I don’t think that they ask any questions that they don’t already know the answer to…I don’t recall in that whole three hour period where they asked a question that they did not already know the answer. I think they wanted me on the record to confirm what they believed.

To the extent that Caputo knows what he’s talking about and is relating his experience honestly, that is a damning statement for anyone associated with the Trump camp. It confirms what many of us have been suggesting for a while now, which is that Mueller knows a whole lot more than has been leaked to the press.

But it is also interesting in light of the fact that much of what Giuliani talked about are the negotiations that are taking place over whether or not the president himself will be interviewed by the Mueller team. All along I’ve gotten the impression that the investigators want to talk to Trump in order to ask him questions that would clarify his intent to obstruct justice, which is a critical component to a criminal prosecution. But other than that, they probably have all of the information they either need or hope to get on whether the campaign engaged in a criminal conspiracy with the Russians to influence the election.

Just as Martin documented that it might not matter whether Michael Cohen flips, I doubt that Mueller’s case will rest on whether Trump is interviewed by the special counsel. It is very possible that the negotiations over that are more important to the president’s legal team than they are to Mueller. Behind closed doors, they hope to cut some kind of deal with the special counsel in order to submit to questioning. I know that sounds absurd when we’re talking about impeachable offenses, but it is how people like Trump and Giuliani operate.

Based on what Caputo is reporting, Mueller has a handle on this case due to the plea agreements he has reached with key figures and the paper trail he has developed. That means that Trump and his team have almost no leverage to work with and these negotiations over whether the president will be interviewed won’t drag out much longer.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.