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A major development in Roger Stone’s case may explain why Mueller is finally resigning

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While the substance of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s remarks on Wednesday are receiving the bulk of the press’s attention, there’s a curious question that arose from his statement that has yet to be answered: Why did Mueller only resign now?

Mueller had officially concluded his investigation on March 22, when he delivered the final version of his report to Attorney General William Barr. After that, Mueller stayed on at the Justice Department, it seemed, to help oversee the release of the report, reportedly helping redact significant sensitive portions of text. But once the report was released on April 18, it wasn’t clear what work was left for Mueller to do. It was only on Wednesday, more than two months after completing the report, that Mueller officially announced his resignation.

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Another development Wednesday in a key case that had been under Mueller’s purview suggested a possible explanation for his final departure date. As CNN reported, a former Mueller prosecutor, Aaron Zelinsky, revealed in court Wednesday that a witness tied to Roger Stone has finally agreed to testify before the grand jury.

Stone is currently awaiting trial for the charges Mueller brought against him, which include lying to Congress, obstructing justice and intimidating a witness in the course of the Russia investigation. But there have been hints that there may be other charges looming over Stone, the most prominent hint being Mueller’s effort to get his associate, Andrew Miller, to testify before the grand jury.

Miller had long refused to testify, and he was held in contempt by Judge Beryl Howell for his refusal, but he has been appealing the decision. Now, it was revealed in court, Miller has agreed to testify on Friday. This suggests, though it is far from certain, that new charges might be coming against Stone. Zelinsky spoke privately with the judge on Wednesday to explain why Miller’s testimony was still needed.

The Miller testimony was one of the outstanding threads in Mueller’s investigation that was still pending when reports first suggested that the Russia probe was wrapping up. Mueller seemed to intensely value the testimony, going to aggressive lengths to force Miller to testify. It’s possible that the special counsel has had some role in the ongoing efforts to get Miller to testify, and once that he had finally agreed to appear before the grand jury, Mueller concluded it was time to step down.

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However, as Vox’s Andrew Prokop noted on Twitter, there’s another outstanding thread in the investigation that has yet to be resolved. Mueller subpoenaed a company owned by a foreign country in the course of his investigation, and the company fought the subpoena all the way to the Supreme Court, where its appeals were denied. We still do not know what will become of that case, or even which country is implicated.


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White House personnel chief delivers a new blow to Trump: Top DHS candidates are not legally qualified

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President Donald Trump's quest to find an acting replacement for departed Department of Homeland Security chief Kirstjen Nielsen was dealt a significant blow on Monday.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the White House personnel office chief Sean Doocey has informed the president that he doesn't believe either of his top two picks are legally qualified to hold the position.

As the Journal notes, "federal statute that governs vacancies states that acting officials in cabinet-level positions must either be next in line for a position or hold a Senate-confirmed position." Neither Ken Cuccinelli, who heads the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, nor Mark Morgan, who leads Customs and Border Protection, meet those standards, Doocey determined.

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CNBC reporter laments ‘very sad’ decline of Trump: ‘We just heard 20 minutes of nonsense’

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CNBC's John Harwood reacted to President Donald Trump's appearance before the press corps on Monday by calling it "20 minutes of nonsense."

Trump's remarks to the press came during a cabinet meeting where he defended his decision to pull troops out of Syria and insisted that the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution is "phony."

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Trump went off the rails at Monday’s cabinet meeting — here are the 5 craziest moments

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President Donald Trump went on a rampage during his Monday cabinet meeting in which he launched multiple broadsides against his political opponents.

The president's latest public tirade came as he is facing increased pressure from House Democrats' impeachment inquiry, as well as criticism from members of his own party over abandoning America's Kurdish allies and trying to award his own business a massive government contract to host next year's G7 summit.

Below are the craziest moments from Trump's off-the-rails Cabinet meeting.

1.) Trump claims that he deserves personal credit for capturing Islamic State fighters.

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