Since Robert Mueller was appointed in May 2016 to investigate possible links or coordination between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the Russian government in order to influence the 2016 election, the special counsel has charged or entered into plea deals with four former Trump campaign or administration officials. The most prominent of the four are Trump’s former national security advisor Michael Flynn and former campaign manager Paul Manafort. Unlike Flynn, Manafort’s charges have nothing to do with his work for Trump.
We know that Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos, another campaign advisor are now cooperating with the Mueller team, though we don’t know exactly what that entails. Mueller himself recently indicated to Trump’s legal team that his office is likely to seek an interview with the president,
While Mueller’s team is stacked with some of the most impressive legal experts who specialize in white collar crime, constitutional law, international law, corruption, terrorism, national security, and fraud. Several also have extensive backgrounds in appellate law.
But there has been a single void on Mueller’s team so far, which is that no one on the team specializes in cyber prosecution. Since one of the primary points of investigation is the DNC hacking, it’s clear the special counsel needed someone will particular expertise in that niche. Zainab Ahmad and Brandon Van Grack have some experience with cybercrime, but are far recognized more for their work on terrorism and national security.
Now Robert Mueller has added to his roster a veteran cyber prosecutor, Ryan K. Dickey. As was first reported by The Washington Post, Dickey was assigned to Mueller’s team from the Justice Department’s Computer Crime and section, according to a spokeman for the special counsel’s office.
This is great news for a couple of reasons. First, Dickey’s expertise is a boon to the special counsel. But, also, the timing of allowing Dickey’s hire to become public knowledge should be seen as strategic. While Trump and his cronies continually float narratives that Mueller is corrupt/on the verge of being fired/has completed his investigation and is no longer needed — Robert S. Mueller III wants the public to know that the special counsel is still at it. One might also glean that he wants to let Donald Trump know that he isn’t going anywhere and it is probably in his best interest to acquiesce to an interview with Robert Mueller as soon as he is asked to do so.