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Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

Mueller probe more worrisome for Trump than mail-bomb case

FBI Director Robert Mueller

FBI Director Robert Mueller Credit: CQ-Roll Call Inc./Tom Williams

Just in case you suspect President Donald Trump was agitated or embarrassed by the mail-bomb arrest of a devoted fan, remember what happened Friday moments after one of his brief calls for political "unity."

Standing before a group of supporters, he condemned "globalists." Someone then yelled "George Soros" (the financier who got one of the threatening packages). Others chanted "Lock him up!" Trump chuckled, pointed and repeated "lock him up" back to them.

The "bomb" case is nominally directed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions — whom Trump famously likes to slam and humiliate on Twitter.

But the federal investigation the president really needs to worry about is still moving ahead in fits and starts under GOP-dreaded Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Different tentacles of the probe surface here and there even as Trump's rhetoric on Mueller turns less voluble and less hysterical.

Bloomberg News reported last week that the grand jury investigating former Trump personal lawyer Michael Cohen is also scrutinizing “others” who may not be aware of prosecutors’ interest in them.

Reuters quoted Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani claiming convicted ex-campaign chair Paul Manafort told Mueller nothing damaging about the president in hours of cooperative interviews.

On Friday, former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, who admitted lying to the FBI, said he is considering withdrawing from a cooperation agreement he entered into with Mueller. 

“I believe there was tremendous misconduct on the government's behalf regarding my case,” Papadopoulos told Trump-friendly “Fox & Friends” host Brian Kilmeade.

“And given certain information I learned just yesterday that I can't publicly disclose right now, I'm actually even considering withdrawing my agreement I have come to with the government.”

Also last week the magazine Mother Jones reported that Trump adviser and Republican operative Roger Stone texted an associate that he was actively seeking a presidential "blanket pardon" for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

"It's very real and very possible," Stone texted, adding 35 minutes later: "Something very big about to go down."

Stone previously said he expects to be indicted in the Russia-related scandal.

And MSNBC reported that Mueller's office obtained communications suggesting Stone and right-wing conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi might have had advance knowledge that emails of Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman had been stolen and provided to WikiLeaks.

So the bottom line on the Mueller front is: Many strands, few predictions, much waiting.
 

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