This really looks like they’re setting somebody up for an indictment, and they’re covering all their bases.
Robert Mueller has set one of his team out to explore every possible angle to presidential pardons, in what appears to be an effort to get ahead of what might come after someone involved with the ongoing Russia probe faces charges.
Mueller has tasked Michael Dreeben with gathering what they see, judging by Trump’s tweets, as the necessary information to move forward.
Dreeben has over three decades of experience as an appeals lawyer with the Justice Department. He’s served as a deputy solicitor general and has worked more than a thousand federal criminal prosecutions.
In fact, even as he’s working for Mueller’s investigatory team, he’s retained some of his work as solicitor general.
The fear surrounding President Trump and those members of his team that have fallen under scrutiny is that Trump could be quite generous with his pardon powers, and Mueller wants any case made against any of his associates to stick.
When Trump pardoned former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, even before there was a sentencing, it struck many as highly inappropriate. His continued ranting about the “witch hunt” of the Russia probe doesn’t exactly inspire confidence that he’ll leave it alone, should charges come from the investigation, either.
Also, as pointed out in the Bloomberg piece, Trump has looked at the power to pardon.
Dreeben, however, is highly qualified to undertake this particular arm of the investigation. He’s worked with and against the best, including Supreme Court Justice John Roberts, when Roberts was a private practice lawyer.
He lost that first case against Roberts, but has since appeared before him in his role as a Justice, many times.