“If this is a witch hunt, Mueller’s found a coven at this point,” the Obama-era official told NBC’s Chuck Todd on Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” pointing to the 37 indictments in Mueller’s probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Several of those charged have been part of the president’s inner circle, including former fixer Michael Cohen, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos and most recently political operative Roger Stone.
It remains to been seen whether Mueller’s highly anticipated report will be made public even after it is wrapped up, but if there is ever to be a charge of conspiracy in the 2016 election, Katyal said it could still be on its way.
However, he argued that “we’re starting to already see the outlines of a Mueller report that does look like he is alleging some sort of conspiracy.”
Though no actual charges alleging outright collusion have yet been filed, the charges against Stone, for example, include obstruction of justice, a crime Katyal contended is tough to separate from collusion.
“It’s a really thin read to say, ‘You’ve been indicted for obstruction of justice about Russian collusion and not the Russian collusion itself,’” he said. “Some people denigrate these as so-called process crimes, but anyone in law enforcement knows these are really crucial crimes because it does obscure the search for the truth.”
Attorney General William Barr will decide whether Mueller’s report is made public. However, six Democratic House committee chairs warned him in a letter on Friday that they expect him to release it “without delay and to the maximum extent permitted by law.”