President Trump’s attorney Ty Cobb said today that he expects Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe to wrap up soon.
“All the White House interviews are over,” Cobb said, according to a report by the Los Angeles Times, adding that he expects the Special Counsel to bring his investigation to “a prompt and appropriate conclusion.”
However, Ron Hosko, a former FBI Assistant Director, said on MSNBC today that he doesn’t agree.
Trump Lawyer Ty Cobb says all WH interviews in Mueller probe are over.
Former Asst. FBI Director Ron Hosko: "I'd be shocked if it's over" pic.twitter.com/b0dTwjfcvT
— TheBeat w/Ari Melber (@TheBeatWithAri) December 12, 2017
He thinks that Mueller and his team, who already have registered four indictments, have a lot of work left to do.
“Frankly I see this as an investigation by Bob Mueller and company that would take many, many months,” said Hosko, “and potentially a couple years.”
“You’re talking about a lot of people,” continued Hosko, “a lot of transactions, overseas transactions, transactions on many levels, probably banking and financial transactions with foreign institutions.”
“I think that’s a complicated case,” Hosko added, “that’s going to take many months. I’d be shocked if it’s over.”
If Hosko is correct, this would not be the first time Cobb and other lawyers representing the president have been overly optimistic about how long this is going to take.
“In August,” reports The Hill, “he [Cobb] told Reuters he would be ’embarrassed’ if the probe was continuing past Thanksgiving.”
Now Cobb is apparently telling Trump it should be over by early next year, but as Hosko pointed out, that also seems like wishful thinking.
“Observers have raised questions about whether Cobb’s view is too rosy,” continues The Hill, “given the all-star team Mueller has assembled to go after Trump. Other special counsel probes have also not ended quickly, giving credence to the idea that this investigation could go on for some time.”
The Washington Post did an in-depth story on Trump’s lawyers and came to the same conclusion that Cobb is an optimist whose predictions have thus far been inaccurate.
“Some Trump advisers dismiss Cobb’s predictions that the Mueller probe is nearing its conclusions as misleading happy talk,” reports The Washington Post, “but the president has internalized it as reality.”
The Post story says Trump talks to Cobb several times a day, and that the lawyer tells the president he is frequently in touch with Mueller’s team.
“Over Thanksgiving at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla.,” adds the Post, “Trump boasted to friends that Cobb was ‘brilliant’ and that he was certain Mueller would soon exonerate him.”
Based on his tweets, as recently as this morning, it appears Trump has bought into Cobb’s optimism and constant assurances the probe will eventually pass him by.
Despite thousands of hours wasted and many millions of dollars spent, the Democrats have been unable to show any collusion with Russia – so now they are moving on to the false accusations and fabricated stories of women who I don’t know and/or have never met. FAKE NEWS!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 12, 2017
Cobb says that Mueller is done interviewing people inside the White House. While Mueller isn’t talking about it, The Hill reports that among those who have been interviewed are White House Communications Director Hope Hicks, Senior Advisor Stephen Miller and White House Counsel Don McGahn.
Cobb has not been interviewed, apparently, but could be. Unlike some of Trump’s other lawyers, Cobb has an office inside the White House and is a government employee, so he does not have an attorney’s immunity from testifying about his client; he could, then, be forced to testify in the future.
The Washington Post reports that Mueller’s investigators have been asking detailed questions about Trump firing former FBI Director James Comey last May, “leading them to believe that Mueller may be gathering evidence of obstruction of justice, according to one witness.”
Still, Trump’s lawyers keep telling him not to worry. “Cobb and (John) Dowd have told Trump he has no vulnerability, officials said,” reports the Post.
So Trump continues to live in a bubble, it appears, where he believes what his lawyers are telling him. However, it seems like the lawyers do their best to tell him what he wants to hear, and that the truth may be much harsher than the president is being led to believe.
It is fair to guess that Hosko is more on the mark than Cobb or the other lawyers who claim Mueller will be done soon. The Special Counsel is going to keep digging and working and that will take a lot more time.
Of course, Trump could try to fire Muller by forcing the Justice Department to dismiss him but that would bring about a political firestorm and leave his reputation in the kind of tatters that led Richard Nixon to eventually resign.
In the end, the president may run out of tweets before Muller runs out of time.