News | Politics: 'We're in the fourth quarter': James Comey says Mueller may be about to finish his investigation into Trump

Politics: 'We're in the fourth quarter': James Comey says Mueller may be about to finish his investigation into Trump

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  • Former FBI Director James Comey says the Russia investigation into the Trump campaign appears to be nearing its end.
  • He suggested that Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's recent guilty pleas and agreement to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller suggested Mueller was closing in on Trump.
  • Comey said: "The way you normally do investigations is you work from the bottom up, and so they're getting pretty high."
  • Comey admitted that the secrecy with which the investigation has been conducted means he can't be totally sure of its progress.

James Comey said that Special Counsel Robert Mueller may be nearing the end of his investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia.

The former FBI director gave an interview to St. Louis Public Radio on Wednesday in which he gave an assessment of the progress made by Mueller, his immediate predecessor at the FBI.

Comey said the fact that Paul Manafort, Trump's campaign chairman, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and agreed to cooperate with Mueller suggests that Mueller may be almost done.

Comey said on Wednesday:

"I think there's an argument to be made that the conviction — the plea and cooperation by Paul Manafort — may represent that we're in the fourth quarter.

"Because the way you normally do investigations is you work from the bottom up, and so they're getting pretty high."

Robert Mueller was appointed to oversee the Trump campaign's ties to Russia in May 2017.play

Robert Mueller was appointed to oversee the Trump campaign's ties to Russia in May 2017.

(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

He added, however, that he "can't say with certainty" where Mueller is at, because the investigation has largely been conducted under wraps.

"The reason I'm hesitant to even say that is [because] Bob Mueller's conducted his investigation like a pro," Comey said. "You know nothing about it except through his public filings, and that's the way it's supposed to be. So I can't say with certainty where he is."

Mueller's investigation started in May 2017 shortly after Trump fired Comey as FBI director. It has so far lasted 16 months.

Manafort last week pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice and one count of conspiracy against the US last week in a case that centered on his political consulting work from 2006 to 2015 for pro-Russian interests.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, however, claimed that Manafort's case "had absolutely nothing to do with the president or his victorious 2016 presidential campaign."

Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen and Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Both have pleaded guilty to federal crimes and agreed to cooperate in investigations into the US president.play

Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen and Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Both have pleaded guilty to federal crimes and agreed to cooperate in investigations into the US president.

(Associated Press/Craig Ruttle; Associated Press/Alex Brandon; Business Insider)

"The perfect storm of cooperators"

Trump's longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, is also cooperating with a Manhattan US attorney's office investigation into his and the president's dealings leading up to the election.

He pleaded guilty last month to five counts of tax evasion, one count of bank fraud, and two counts related to campaign-finance violations.

Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization's longtime chief financial officer, was granted immunity by federal prosecutors last month so he could share information about Cohen and Trump.

One former federal prosecutor said federal investigators now have "the perfect storm of cooperators."

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By Kwame Ntow 20/09/2018 05:58:00