As many Americans nurse their post-New Year’s Eve hangovers, several others wonder what 2019 will hold for the Mueller investigation. Will the special prosecutor finally find concrete evidence that President Trump worked with Russia to sway the 2016 presidential election? Or will he come up empty-handed and prove Trump was innocent?
“I think the biggest question is, is he going to present evidence that Trump committed crimes?” said Harvard law professor and former International Criminal Court prosecutor Alex Whiting while speaking to the Guardian.”Either obstruction of justice or collusion. He wouldn’t bring an indictment because Justice Department policy won’t permit it. But whatever evidence would be handed off, I think, to the Congress, and it will have to be considered. That’s as big as it gets. I think that’s really…that’s the ultimate question.”
While the investigation drags on, there remains unfinished business from last year to attend to. For starters, Paul Manafort has yet to be sentenced. The former Trump campaign chairman was found guilty in 2018 of bank and tax fraud in Virginia and also pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge, according to a report from NPR. He is scheduled to face a sentencing hearing sometime in the first few months of 2019. Rick Gates, Manafort’s number two in the campaign who turned witness against the chairman, is still awaiting sentencing as well.
Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security advisor, will also be sentenced this year. Flynn was initially expected to receive sentencing in late 2018, but the federal judge postponed the hearing to allow Flynn more time to cooperate with federal law enforcement. However, the indictments of these three men, along with 30 others, have yet to provide solid proof that Trump himself took part in any wrongdoing.
I challenge Mueller to put up or shut up. You have no evidence of the President being involved in a conspiracy with anyone including Russia to hack. And you also have no evidence of collusion. It’s been 2 years so submit a report to DOJ and we will answer it.
— Rudy Giuliani (@RudyGiuliani) December 30, 2018
That might change in 2019. According to a report from NBC, sources have indicated Mueller is nearing completion of his investigation, which began in earnest in May of 2017. Still, much of the evidence that Mueller’s team has collected remains maddeningly clandestine. Despite the near leak-proof investigation, speculation remains abundant. Pundits on both sides of the aisle will continue to weigh in on the investigation, each side convinced their opinion is the correct one. For what it’s worth, President Trump appears to at least still enjoy the continued support of rapper Kanye West.