If you're keeping score at home, candidate then President Trump was never the subject of a federal investigation over Russia's 2016 election meddling, a reality to which he was alerted three times by then-FBI Director James Comey prior to his May firing. Trump pleaded this case publicly, but few in the media believed him -- until Comey confirmed it under oath this month, exploding a CNN "scoop" in the process.
But with questions about obstruction of justice now swirling (many on the Left seem to have moved away from the "collusion" angle, probably because damning evidence stubbornly refuses to materialize), Comey hinted heavily in his testimony that Special Counsel Robert Mueller would be targeting Trump on the former front. Not for seeking to obstruct the Russia probe, mind you (he didn't), but in connection with Trump's expressed hope that Comey could "let go" of a tertiary investigation into Michael Flynn. While the White House was still denying that Trump himself was under any investigation last week, the Washington Post reported that Mueller and company were looking at him for obstruction after all. The president responded by tweeting an attack on his own Deputy Attorney General, whom he'd previously praised to the hilt. In that social media message he appeared to confirm that yes, he is now a subject of the investigation:
I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 16, 2017
Not so, the White House shot back, as did one of Trump's attorneys on Fox News Sunday. During his exchange with anchor Chris Wallace, Jay Sekulow twice complained about Trump being under investigation, then clarified that expressing frustration about Trump being under investigation does not amount to a concession that the president actually is being investigated...although he might be. Uh, okay:
Not the most coherent or persuasive line of argument, perhaps, but here's something that Team Trump will like, via ABC News:
Now Mueller faces a huge decision. Does he believe the president, who says there’s no wrongdoing here, or does he go after the president in the way James Comey wants him to do? Now, my sources are telling me he’s begun some preliminary planning. Plans to talk to some people in the administration. But he’s not yet made that momentous decision to go for a full scale investigation.
Fake news? After all, these are unnamed sources being cited by a MSM outlet. But the content here is at least temporarily good news for Trump, so maybe the MAGA crowd is allowed to believe this anonymously-sourced information, if "good for Trump" is the standard for truth. All things considered, what it sounds like is that Mueller is aware of all of the obstruction-related breadcrumbs, many of which Comey laid out in his testimony. But he's also undoubtedly familiar with the reasons why several left-leaning legal experts don't see any viable case, based on the available evidence (plus, he has a more complete picture of that evidence). The stage of the process that he appears to be in at the moment is determining whether there's enough 'there there' to aggressively pursue a full-scale investigation on this front, in which the president would surely be a centerpiece. Writes Allahpundit of Mueller, "maybe we can agree that Mueller is sniffing around Trump. He hasn’t yet picked up a scent. But he’s interested." Exactly.