Russia Investigations May Take a Year to Finish

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It’s likely to be a long time before the Russia investigations in Congress and in special counsel Robert Mueller’s office are concluded, reports USA Today. The constant stream of news about witnesses, subpoenas and closed-door testimony makes it feel like the probes have been going on forever, but Mueller has been working only for four and a half months and the three congressional committees conducting inquiries didn’t start digging in until spring. That’s not long when you consider that the Watergate investigation of Richard Nixon took about 20 months and the Whitewater investigation of Bill Clinton, which morphed into the Monica Lewinsky case, spanned about five years. Charles Tiefer of the University of Baltimore School of Law, who worked on the House Iran-Contra Committee’s investigation of the Reagan administration, said, “The 24-hour news cycle means that speculation outruns the actual investigation and demands responses.”

Tiefer estimated that it could take Congress until spring and Mueller about a year to begin to show initial results, such as preliminary reports from the committees or the first round of indictments from the special counsel. Mueller, the Senate and House Intelligence committees and the Senate Judiciary Committee are investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. Richard Ben-Veniste, who worked in the Watergate Special Prosecution Force and was chief minority counsel to the Senate Whitewater Committee, said the Russia probe and Watergate are “roughly comparable in terms of the complexity.” Bruce Udolf, a criminal defense attorney in Florida who worked on the Whitewater case, believes Mueller is “moving at lightning speed” in putting together a team of investigators and questioning witnesses. He said, “I would be surprised if it was completed in less than a year.”

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