Speculation is rampant about the reportedly imminent end of the Robert Mueller-led special counsel probe into alleged Russian interference and collusion with the Trump campaign in the 2016 election.
The rumors of the investigation’s impending conclusion just gained additional steam following the announcement that yet another top prosecutor on Mueller’s team has left the special counsel’s office and has resumed normal duties.
Another top prosecutor departs
Zainab Ahmad is the second top-level prosecutor to exit the Mueller team in the past few weeks, and her decision was revealed soon after it was reported that Mueller’s right-hand man Andrew Weissmann would leave to take a job at New York University School of Law.
These notable departures come close on the heels of an announcement that senior FBI special agent David Archey also left Mueller’s team in early March to return to the FBI on a full-time basis.
Ahmad is a United States Attorney assigned to the Eastern District of New York, and she typically works on counterterrorism cases. She was a member of the team responsible for prosecuting former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn over his alleged lies to the FBI about a phone call with a Russian ambassador.
While those departures would seem to indicate that the Mueller investigation is at the very least winding down, if not nearing a conclusion, both Mueller’s team and the Department of Justice have refrained from offering up even a hint of when the investigation will officially end or a final report will be submitted to the attorney general.
Final touches on Flynn case
As for Ahmad, the special counsel’s office did state publicly that her role in the investigation has concluded, with the exception of work on any outstanding matters related to the specific case to which she had been assigned, with the Flynn prosecution being the most likely example.
“Zainab Ahmad has concluded her detail with the Special Counsel’s Office but will continue to represent the office on specific pending matters that were assigned to her during her detail,” said special counsel spokesman Peter Carr in a statement.
Considering that Flynn’s case has been all but concluded for some time, save the sentencing hearing that has been delayed multiple times already, Ahmad’s remaining duties with the special counsel’s office in that regard may amount to mere formalities.
Ahmad linked to anti-Trump dossier?
Interestingly, a Fox News report indicated that Ahmad’s name emerged during closed-door testimony provided to a House committee in 2018 by Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr, who played an integral role in the distribution of the infamous anti-Trump dossier compiled by former British spy Christoper Steele at the direction of a political opposition research firm known as Fusion GPS.
Ohr reportedly served as something of a go-between for Steele and the federal government, passing along the dubious dossier information to other government officials in various departments, including Ahmad.
Time will tell if anything further will come of that intriguing revelation and potentially damning conflict of interest, given everything we now know about the dossier and the identities of those who created and spread it to be used against Donald Trump.