The impending Manafort indictment, and Bob Mueller’s announcement that he intends to expand his investigation to include various aides who worked in different capacities both in the West Wing and on the Trump campaign has sent a lot of peripheral folks scurrying for lawyers and the money to pay them. Being part of a Trump FBI investigation ain’t cheap. Bloomberg:
Preparation for testimony before a single congressional committee can cost $20,000 to $50,000 in legal fees -- and some of those involved in the Russia investigation may be called before multiple panels. Add in a grand jury subpoena from Mueller and the total cost for a mere witness -- someone not suspected of any wrongdoing -- could exceed $100,000, Brand said.
If past investigations are any indication, the probes will create anxiety, distrust and distraction in the West Wing. The lawyers that staffers hire will advise them not to talk to each other or leave the room if any discussion of Russia or the investigations comes up. In the past, that’s put staffers on edge as they worry about saying something that could get them in trouble or wonder what their colleagues are saying to investigators about them.
“It does raise the suspicion level within the White House and clearly impacts the ability of everyone to do the mission,” said Leon Panetta, who was chief of staff to Bill Clinton during the Whitewater investigation. “It casts a dark shadow.”
Caputo spent seven years working in Russia and is close to Manafort and Stone, factors he believes drew congressional investigators’ attention despite his brief service on Trump’s campaign.
During a House Intelligence hearing in March with former FBI director James Comey, Representative Jackie Speier brought up Caputo’s work in Russia and his wife, who is Ukrainian. He was away on business and immediately began receiving threatening calls, he said, including one person who threatened to burn down his house with his wife and children inside. One night someone threw rocks at his house, he said.
Caputo was on CNN this morning, describing how he has had to drain his children’s college fund and will start to drain his own retirement fund next; also how he got a gun permit and has purchased several pistols, which he carries with him at both the home and office.
“The politics of personal destruction ruined Washington 15, 20 years ago and now it has followed me, like aliens to my tiny little town,” Caputo lamented. “The price of entry into this Washington game is far more expensive than a guy from a little village in upstate New York is willing or able to pay.”
Michael Flynn and Roger Stone have both established legal funds. Flynn’s brother and sister have gone fundraising, stating that Flynn’s legal bills far exceed his ability to pay, and they are calling attention to the fact of Flynn’s 33 years of service in the Army. Maybe Flynn should have thought about some of these things when he was making appearances on Russian television, having dinner with Vladimir Putin, and pushing nuclear power deals with the Saudis.