Some nice sleuthing from POLITICO presents a strong case that he has:
(1) Somebody initiated a sealed grand jury case in the DC circuit on August 16th.
(2) The judge (Beryl Howell) issued a ruling on September 19th, and one of the parties filed an appeal on the 24th.
(3) A POLITICO reporter “overheard a conversation in the clerk’s office” (I wouldn’t be shocked if this is a cover story for some sort of leak, perhaps from a judicial clerk, since Mueller’s team is extraordinarily tight-lipped) that indicated the special counsel’s office is involved.
Then things get really interesting.
(4) The litigation has since been moving at remarkable speed. Procedures that normally take weeks or months are happening in a matter of days. Obviously this is no ordinary case.
(5) Most tellingly, the party that lost at the lower level immediately petitioned for an en banc hearing — that is, a hearing involving all the judges on the circuit court. That itself is significant, but what is most significant is that, in the order disposing of that petition, Gregory Katsas recused himself. Katsas is Trump’s only appointment to the DC circuit, and was previously Trump’s deputy White House counsel. If the appealing party was Trump, Katsas would certainly recuse himself.
Briefs in the case are due soon, and oral argument has been set for December 14th.
Given how quickly the political culture in this country is deteriorating, it’s fair to ask whether Mueller’s investigation is likely to change much, even if he indicts much of Trump’s inner circle, and names Trump as an un-indicted co-conspirator in the proceedings. It looks as if we’re likely to find out.