- Since May 2017, special counsel Robert Mueller has been probing Russian interference in the 2016 election.
- The Mueller investigation has been a lucrative source of profit for some online gamblers who bet on the likelihood of different possible outcomes in the probe on websites like PredictIt.
- Here’s how PredictIt gamblers are betting on eight possible developments in the Mueller probe.
Since May 2017, special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and potential collaboration with Moscow to tilt the race in Trump’s favour, has captivated the interest of observers in Washington and around the world.
The Mueller probe has also been a lucrative source of profit for some online gamblers who bet on the likelihood of different possible outcomes in the probe on websites like PredictIt.
PredictIt gamblers buy shares of a given bet, the value of which corresponds to the likelihood of a given event occurring. For example, shares of a formal Brexit agreement being reached by March 29, 2019 are trading at 26¢ a share, reflecting a 26% chance of the event happening by a certain date.
So far, 35 people, including eight people associated with the Trump campaign or administration and three Russian companies,have been charged in the investigation.
For online gamblers, betting on the Mueller probe is especially risky given the secrecy of the probe’s inner workings. Mueller only speaks through official court filings and runs a leak-free investigation, often making it difficult to guess exactly what will happen next.
Some gamblers who placed bets on Trump ally Roger Stone being indicted for 67¢ a share made a profit on Friday, when Mueller charged Stone with one count of obstruction of justice, five counts of making false statements to investigators, and one count of witness tampering.
Here’s how PredictIt gamblers are betting on eight possible developments in the Mueller probe:
Donald Trump Jr. facing charges by December 31, 2019: shares trading at 41¢ for yes, 59¢ for no.
As a senior executive at the Trump Organisation, Trump’s oldest son was involved in a number of matters relevant to the Mueller probe – including the Trump Organisation’s attempts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, and the infamous July 2016 Trump Tower meeting.
Trump Jr. said in his 2017 testimony before the House intelligence committee that he was only “peripherally aware” of the dealings to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.
But Mueller’s sentencing memo for Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the deal, said Cohen “briefed family members” of Trump within the Trump Organisation about it.
After Cohen’s guilty plea, House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff said that he was a concerned a number of other witnesses had made false statements to the committee, a knowledgeable Congressional source told INSIDER that Trump Jr. was one of those witnesses.
Former Trump lawyer and ‘fixer’ Michael Cohen publicly testifying before February 28, 2019: shares trading at 61¢ for yes, 39¢ for no.
After being sentenced to 36 months in prison in December for crimes including tax fraud, bank fraud, lying to Congress, and campaign finance violations he said he committed at Trump’s direction, Cohen accepted an invitation to testify before the House Oversight Committee.
But Cohen decided to postpone his public testimony, citing threats to his safety and his family. The Senate Intelligence Committee is reportedly serving Cohen with a subpoena to testify behind closed doors, which Cohen’s attorney said his client would honour.
Cohen is due to report to federal prison on March 13, meaning he has a limited window in which to publicly appear before Congress. But online betters are still bullish on Cohen testifying before the public.
Jared Kushner facing charges by December 31, 2019: shares trading at 29¢ for yes, 71¢ for no.
Unlike Stone and Trump Jr., Kushner is not known to be under scrutiny for making false statements to Congress. He was, however, present at many of the events under scrutiny by the Mueller probe.
Kushner attended the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower along with Trump Jr., and met with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak on several occassions in an effort to set up a secret communications “back-channel” between the Trump transition team and Russia.
Trump pardoning former campaign chairman Paul Manafort in 2019: shares trading at 16¢ for yes, 84¢ for no.
Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman was first charged in December 2017 in the District of Columbia on 12 counts of crimes, including money laundering and failing to register as a foreign agent.
He and his deputy Rick Gates were charged again in the Eastern District of Virginia on 18 counts of tax and bank fraud. While Gates chose to take a plea deal and testify against his former mentor, Manafort went to trial. In August, he was convicted on eight counts, with a mistrial declared on the other ten after jurors could not come to a consensus.
While he opted to take a plea deal with the special counsel’s office ahead of his second trial scheduled for December, a November court filing from Mueller’s office accused Manafort of breaching his plea agreement and lying to the special counsel’s office and the FBI.
In a recent interview with the New York Post, Trump said a possible Manafort pardon “was never discussed, but I wouldn’t take it off the table. Why would I take it off the table?” Such a pardon, however, could land Trump in hot water for possible witness-tampering.
Roger Stone being pardoned in 2019: shares trading at 20¢ for yes, 80¢ for no.
Early Friday morning, the special counsel’s office indicted Stone on one count of obstruction of justice, five counts of making false statements to the FBI and congressional investigators, and one count of witness tampering.
Stone pledged not to plead guilty to the charges and “bear false witness” against Trump, expressing his intent to go to trial.
Trump has repeatedly dangled a pardon before Paul Manafort, and could do the same for Stone.
After Stone vowed to not testify against Trump in December, Trump lauded Stone for not being “forced by a rogue and out of control prosecutor to make up lies and stories”in a tweet. “Nice to know that some people still have “guts!,” he added.
The US Senate passing legislation to protect Mueller’s investigation: shares trading at 24¢ for yes, 76¢ for no.
In 2018, Democratic Senator Chris Coons and Republican Senator Jeff Flake tried and failed on multiple occasions to pass bipartisan legislation preventing Trump from firing Mueller.
While the legislation was passed and sent to the floor by the judiciary committee, the senators failed to force a vote with unanimous consent, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refusing to bring the bill to the floor for a vote.
Now that Republicans control the Senate by an even larger margin then they did in 2018, the chances of the bill passing in 2019 are even slimmer.
Trump remaining president by the end of 2019: shares trading at 75¢ for yes, 25¢ for no.
Despite the unprecedented shroud of legal and political turmoil consuming the White House, betters are placing the odds of Trump still being in office by the end of 2019 at 75%.
Trump would either have to resign, die, or be impeached and removed from office, all relatively unlikely outcomes.
Trump being impeached at some point in his first term: shares trading at 48¢ for yes, 52¢ for no.
Interestingly, betters are placing much shorter odds on the probability of Trump facing impeachment at some point before 2021.
So far, Democratic leaders in the House have approached the topic of impeachment with caution, saying they will reserve judgement on the matter until Mueller releases his final report.
The House beginning impeachment proceedings for Trump, however, would not guarantee his removal from office. He would also need to be convicted by a two-thirds majority of the Senate.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.