Special counsel Robert Mueller never talks publicly, but his legal filings have told an increasingly detailed story about the people surrounding President Trump, their contacts with Russia during and after the 2016 election, and the lies they told about them. This has been particularly true in the weeks since November’s midterm elections, as the Mueller team closes chapters on three figures central to the inquiry: onetime national security adviser Michael Flynn, Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
“If you’re looking for one overarching, unifying theme, that hasn’t emerged yet,” says Elie Honig, a former federal prosecutor at Lowenstein Sandler. But it may be starting to take shape. What’s become clear from the guilty pleas, sentencing memos, and hearings of the past several weeks is that Mueller has put together much, if not all, of the story. What hasn’t become clear is when—or how—it will end.
In a Dec. 4 filing in the Flynn case, prosecutors urged that he receive no prison time. Coming more than a year after he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about contacts with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and his work on behalf of the Turkish government, the filing said Flynn had given Mueller’s team “firsthand insight”—and, more significantly, that his choice to cooperate “likely affected” the decisions of oth