What Does it Mean: The Impaneling of Mueller's Grand Jury
On Thursday, August 3rd, news broke that Robert Mueller has impaneled a Grand Jury in his Russian Probe. Hitherto, he had hired 16 attorneys with ranging legal backgrounds to assist his investigation into Russian collusion and “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation”, according to the letter that appointed him.
Define: A grand jury is a tool used by federal prosecutors to gather evidence, subpoena testimony, and eventually determine if they want to indict someone, opening the door for a trial. At times, grand juries might indict someone in the middle of their investigation, if they suspect that person will assist the government’s investigation. Usually they wait until the end of the process to indict. Sometimes grand juries are shared by many prosecutors investigating many cases. Robert Mueller has been sharing one such jury – a general grand jury – to investigate Michael Flynn for two months. (If you want more details about grand juries in general, feel free to check out these links.)
It’s worth noting that if a grand jury subpoenas someone for testimony, that person testifies under oath without a defense attorney present. The witness can disclose what they talked about with the grand jury if they want to, but they don’t have to. They also don’t know all the evidence or prior testimony that the Grand Jury has heard-there is no disclosure of evidence-so some criticize them for being perjury traps. Fun Fact: Only the USA and Liberia have grand juries.
Let’s get specific.
In Mueller’s case, there are 23 permanent jurors assigned to his investigation. Though we don’t know exactly what this means, we do know it means that the investigation has expanded beyond an investigation into Michael Flynn. Let’s break it down.
Politically Biased Left View
If there has been something consistent with the left wing’s response to all the many tarnishing leaks that have come out related to Russia, it’s that they get way ahead of themselves. Some of my friends know this is the beginning of the end and the impaneling is the nail in the coffin. They know Trump will be out of office by 2018. Most of this is just speculation without evidence. However, there is one statistic that is worth breaking down. A Washington Post article in 2014 breaks down a years’ data bout grand juries and comes to the conclusion that grand juries indict 99.99% of the time. If this is true, someone in the Trump administration may indeed be screwed.
Unfortunately, that statistic alone is somewhat misleading. 99.99% of the time the prosecutor wants to prosecute, they get an indictment. However, 16% of the time, prosecutors didn’t want to prosecute. Some of those grand juries only procured evidence, and in this case, some evidence might prove exculpatory for the Trump administration. One important example of a grand jury that didn’t make an indictment was Robert Ray’s grand jury investigation into the Whitewater controversy surrounding President Clinton. In that case, they did not move forward with charges. (However, they did uncover information regarding the Monica Lewinsky scandal, suggesting bad news for Trump and likelihood of Mission Creep).
(I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Donald Jr.’s, and others, meeting with Russian officials and its terrible cover up. Not to mention the terrible cover up of countless other things. Someone may be screwed.)
Politically Biased Right View
The most cognitively biased are the people who think that this whole investigation start to finish is just a witch hunt. I don’t know anyone that biased. More and more this view is fading out of style. In my mind, conservative intellectuals (read: not fox and friends) have been concerned with Russian interference in our election, want to get to the bottom of the investigation, but also are concerned with mission creep.
A More Skeptical View
11 out of 20 legal experts that Vox interviewed said that the impaneling of the Grand Jury was an inevitability and had little significance. (The other 9 do think it’s significant that the investigation is broadening, and believe Mueller probably has a good deal of evidence, but stop short of saying anything definitive.) I believe the impaneling of the Grand Jury is a similar fact to many that have come out about Trump-Russian relations – it’s not worth spending that much time on.
Let’s remind ourselves that there are countless experts with infinite more information than we working day and night on this subject. Let’s remind ourselves that the impaneling is only the beginning of this form of investigation, and that indictments usually come more than a year later, if at all. Let’s remind ourselves that while our mainstream media is continually distracted by any tweet or speculation, other issues are going down. Let's remind ourselves that anyone who knows Trump is out of office by 2018 probably got 2016 wrong.
Thanks for rocking with it to here. What does it mean is the question for friends – Here are three more for you to take away and ask.
1. Do you think that Grand Juries are fair? Should we get rid of them? Are they too expensive? Now that we are learning more and more about institutions like the super delegates, the electoral college, and grand juries, let’s try to keep our future open. It is strange that only two countries still have them.
2. Do you think that Comey’s testimony exonerated Trump? That is a common conservative line since he said that at that time, they had no investigation about Trump open. Does the grand jury change your opinion about that? Why?
3. Parlor bet - Do you think Trump fires Mueller? My odds are 30 for, 70 against.
Coming up - How bad is Anti-Fa & The Regressive Left? Reading conservative commentary has got me wondering. Join me on the questioning.
Future ideas - How bad are they - Millenials. The Planet Earth and Khalifa Kush vs. Traditional Family Values
- What is the significance of the impaneling of a grand jury?
- Are Grand Juries fair, or a weird institution that we should get rid of or modernize?
- Did Comey exonerate Trump? What do you feel about his personal stakes in this investigation?
- Will Trump fire Mueller: Odds: 30 for, 70 against.
Oh, And info wars, Our canary. The town crier.