By Jon Dougherty
A veteran defense lawyer who guided POTUS Donald Trump’s legal team and defense during a critical stretch of the investigation being conducted by Robert Mueller has said he thinks the two-year probe will end in silence from the special counsel.
What’s more, in a far-ranging interview for the first episode of “The Investigation,” a new podcast that focuses on Mueller’s investigation, defense attorney John Dowd told ABC News he believes the high-profile, massive, two-year probe into alleged Trump-Russia “collusion” to “steal” the 2016 election was “a terrible waste of time.”
More importantly, he doesn’t think Mueller will even issue a parting shot.
“I don’t think there’ll be a report,” he said, according to ABC News. “I will be shocked if anything regarding the president is made public, other than, ‘We’re done.'”
Dowd, 77, left the president’s legal team in March over disagreements about how to be cooperative with Mueller’s prosecutors.
But he forged a lasting relationship with the president and has remained in contact with him over the past year, often talking to him about Mueller’s probe.
In the lengthy podcast interview, Dowd’s impression of the probe matched Trump’s view — that it’s been a witch hunt and huge unnecessary distraction from his presidency.
“I know exactly what [Mueller] has,” Dowd told the interviewers.
“I know exactly what every witness said, what every document said. I know exactly what he asked. And I know what the conclusion or the result is,” he added, in providing a description of the wide-ranging efforts by the president’s legal team to gauge progress in the case by speaking to dozens of witnesses.
Based on that knowledge, Dowd said, “there’s no basis. There’s no exposure. It’s been a terrible waste of time.”
The overall view of the probe, known as “Spygate” in many circles, is that it is “one of the greatest frauds this country’s ever seen.”
Dowd also said the POTUS has been cooperative with Mueller’s probe, even going so far as to provide prosecutors with requested documents.
“There’s no time in history has anybody had this kind of look at communications with the president,” Dowd said, adding that his biggest concern was Trump sitting down for an interview with Mueller’s team.
“What I was worried about is that he really couldn’t do it,” Dowd said. “He couldn’t do it.
“You cannot treat the president like anybody,” he added.
Dowd’s assessment follows our report earlier today quoting USA Today writers Kevin Johnson and Bart Jansen, who speculated that, based on interviews with those who know Mueller, he very likely would not discuss any of his findings or his probe publicly.
Occasionally, his signature appears on court documents. But on the most consequential days of the nearly two-year investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, the man leading it – Robert Mueller – has been conspicuously absent.
When President Donald Trump’s senior aides and confidants paraded through federal courtrooms to face criminal charges his office had filed, the former FBI director was nowhere to be seen. When some of them came back to court to be convicted, he said nothing.
It’s possible he never will.
Democrats, however, are not going to be satisfied with any of this. If Mueller doesn’t implicate the president but does go ahead with a final, report, Democrats are going to find some way to leak it, and do so in a way it appears as though the president was guilty of “Russian collusion.”
Leading Trump-Russia conspiracy theorist Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) all but admitted what’s to come next.
“If the attorney general doesn’t issue a public report, they can expect it to be subpoenaed by Congress because of the high public value of Americans understanding just what the Russians did and who worked with them,” he told USA Today.
- Follow Jon Dougherty on Twitter at @JonDougherty10
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