If you think news of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s indictment represents a turning point in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, you’re in good company.
As former Department of Defense and CIA head Leon Panetta told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Monday, the indictments of Manafort and former campaign aide Richard Gates forebode what is to come from Mueller’s probe.
“I think we’ve kind of crossed a threshold now that we are dealing with a very serious investigation,” Panetta said. “This is very serious, that it’s being handled in a responsible and professional way, and that I think rather than labeling this as false news or as a fraud of some kind, I think both the president and the American people ought to understand that we are now seeing a serious investigation into just exactly what role Russia played in the last election.”
In reaction to news that left-leaning lobbyist Tony Podesta stepped down from his firm in relation to Manafort’s indictment, Panetta said he believes other Democrats could also face legal scrutiny as potential conspiracies unfold.
“We are at the beginning of this investigation, not at the end of it, and as a result of that what these indictments may indicate, is that as a result of it there will be other trails of evidence that will be followed by Bob Mueller, and I think there’s probably a very good bet that additional indictments will be forthcoming and could involve members of both parties,” Panetta said.
Later in the segment, Panetta said he also believes that speculation about whether President Donald Trump will fire Mueller is “dangerous.”
Watch the former CIA and DOD head discuss the latest news from the Mueller probe below, via CNN.