Vice President Mike Pence had a message for Special Counsel Robert Mueller: It’s time to wrap it up.
Mueller was appointed on May 17, 2017, to investigate the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, including any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and the campaign of then-candidate Donald Trump.
While Mueller brought forth several indictments, none of the charges concerned the actions of the Trump campaign.
First, on Oct. 3, Mueller indicted George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign adviser. Papadopoulos was approached, in March 2016, by Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese professor and member of the European Council on Foreign Relations. Mifsud promised a foreign policy meeting with Russian officials, who had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. Papadopoulos consulted the campaign and was told to go to the meeting himself. The meeting, however, never took place. When the FBI interviewed Papadopoulos on Jan. 27, 2017, he tried to downplay his communications with Mifsud, lying to the agents in the process. On Oct. 5, he pleaded guilty to making false statements to FBI.
On Oct. 30, Mueller filed charges against political consultants and lobbyists Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, saying they hid from authorities millions paid for their work for former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, dodging taxes in the process. They also allegedly lied to banks about their income to get better loans. Manafort worked for the Trump campaign for several months, starting in March 2016 and becoming the campaign manager from June to August 2016. Gates was his deputy.
Gates pleaded guilty to greatly reduced charges, agreeing to work with Mueller.
But when the Manafort case reached trial, federal Judge T.S. Ellis, III, said that the charges have “nothing to do with Russia,” agreeing with Manafort’s defense team, who argued that the charges against their client are outside of Mueller’s investigative scope.
Paraphrasing the logic of the Mueller team, Ellis simplified its intention as he saw it: “We said this is what our investigation is about, but we’re not bound by it, and we were lying,” Ellis said of the probe. “C’mon man!”
Mueller also charged Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, with intentionally lying to FBI agents during an interview, though the agents didn’t see any sign that the inaccuracies in Flynn’s answers were given with the intention of lying, top FBI officials told Congress investigators. Still, Flynn pleaded guilty.
On Feb. 16, Mueller indicted 13 people and three companies that ran a campaign, mainly through social media, intending to “spread distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general.”
The indictment stated that the operation opposed Hillary Clinton and other candidates such as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and supported Bernie Sanders and Trump. But there was no allegation that any American knowingly participated in the effort.
On Feb. 20, Mueller charged Dutch attorney Alex van der Zwaan with lying to investigators about his contacts with Gates and Manafort.
Mueller also reportedly referred to the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan a case against Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen.
Meanwhile, a separate year-long House Intelligence Committee investigation has found no collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.
Now, Pence thinks it’s time Mueller calls it quits.
“It’s been about a year since this investigation began. Our administration’s provided over a million documents. We’ve fully cooperated in it. And in the interest of the country, I think it’s time to wrap it up,” Pence told NBC on Thursday, May 10.
“I would very respectfully encourage the special counsel and his team to bring their work to completion.”
The Epoch Times’ Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this story.
Update: The article was updated to include charges against George Papadopoulos.