Former White House lawyer Ty Cobb, who once predicted special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe would end quickly, now says the investigation could stretch beyond 2020 if President Donald Trump wins a second term.
“It’s never gonna be over,” Cobb told the ABC News podcast “The Investigation” in a rare interview in which he praised Mueller as “an American hero” and dismissed Trump’s relentless claims of a “witch hunt.” “I mean, this is gonna go … through 2020. And if the president’s re-elected, it’ll go beyond that.”
Cobb added that he doesn’t “feel the same way about Mueller” as the president does. “I don’t feel the investigation is a witch hunt,” he said. “I wish it had happened on a quicker timetable. But it didn’t.”
Cobb, who was hired by the Trump administration in 2017 as a specialist handling the Mueller probe, retired in May. He told Reuters in August 2017 he thought the investigation was narrow and would wrap up quickly. “I’d be embarrassed if this is still haunting the White House” by the end of 2017, he added.
Mueller himself has given few clues when his work might finish. Several news sources reported last month that Attorney General William Barr was set to announce the end of the investigation ― possibly within days.
Cobb, who also expressed support for the special counsel in an interview last year, said the investigation has been taking longer than he once thought due to “a lot of surprises,” including the activities of former Trump associates Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, Carter Page and Roger Stone.
Cobb also said he also disagrees with the attempts by Trump and his current lawyer Rudy Giuliani to discredit Mueller’s work. He said the strategy is one that “would not have been preferable for me.”
“They have ratcheted up the public’s concerns about the investigation and its legitimacy,” Cobb said of Trump and Giuliani. “I object to that approach. But it’s his choice. He’s the president.”