It Begins: Ex-Obama Counsel To Be Indicted Following Mueller Probe

In what will be the first case linked to Robert Mueller's report since the special counsel concluded President Trump did not collude with Russia; The New York Times reports that lawyers for Gregory B. Craig, a White House counsel in the Obama administration, expect him to be indicted in the coming days on charges related to his work for the Russia-aligned government of Ukraine.

The 74-year-old legal heavyweight, who served in senior legal roles for two Democratic presidents, reportedly refused to accept a plea deal, and the matter could be presented to a grand jury for indictment as soon as Thursday.

Mr. Craig served as the White House counsel to President Obama for the first year of his administration. He also served as a senior legal adviser to President Bill Clinton during the impeachment inquiry into the president’s conduct.

The Wall Street Journal reports that people familiar with the situation say they believe Mr. Craig will be charged with making false statements to the Justice Department unit that oversees the activities of foreign agents, though other charges are possible.

Lawyers for Mr. Craig blasted the planned indictment as a "misguided abuse of prosecutorial discretion"...

“This case was thoroughly investigated by the SDNY and that office decided not to pursue charges against Mr. Craig. We expect an indictment by the DC US Attorney’s Office at the request of the National Security Division. Mr. Craig is not guilty of any charge and the government’s stubborn insistence on prosecuting Mr. Craig is a misguided abuse of prosecutorial discretion.”

The possible charges stem from the Ukrainian government’s hiring of Mr. Craig and his then-law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP in 2012 to evaluate the corruption trial of the former Ukrainian prime minister. 

Ukraine used the report to bolster the pro-Russia government’s contention that the prosecution of a rival to then President Viktor Yanukovych was appropriate and proper, while the report itself made more narrow findings.

In January, the law firm agreed to pay $4.6m as part of a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department over unregistered work it did with former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort to benefit the government of Ukraine in 2012 and 2013.

Craig was identified as lead partner on that project and in the settlement, the firm blamed Mr. Craig for providing the government with the misleading information

He would be the first prominent Democrat charged as a result of Mueller's investigation, according to the Post.

We look forward to Rachel Maddow's detailed breakdown of how a senior democrat 'colluded' with Ukraine to the benefit of Russia...