Ex-federal prosecutor says sentencings signal Mueller probe likely approaching end

Former federal prosecutor Elliot Williams said Wednesday that recent sentencings in special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerMueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony MORE's probe into Russia's election meddling show that the investigation could be nearing its end.

"Because of the fact that we are beginning to see sentencings, those tend to be a sign that things are wrapping up because you only sentence people when they're done with their cooperation," Williams, who also worked in the Justice Department during the Obama administration, told Hill.TV's Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton on "Rising."

Mueller's team has indicted or reached plea deals with 33 people, including onetime Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortEx-Trump campaign aide Rick Gates testifies against former Obama counsel Gregory Craig Trial of ex-Obama White House counsel suddenly postponed Top Mueller probe prosecutor to join Georgetown Law as lecturer MORE, former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former longtime Trump lawyer Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenCapitol Police advised Gaetz against holding open events I'm not a Nazi, I'm just a dude: What it's like to be the other Steve King Wyden blasts FEC Republicans for blocking probe into NRA over possible Russia donations MORE.

London-based lawyer Alex van der ZwaanAlex van der ZwaanEx-federal prosecutor says sentencings signal Mueller probe likely approaching end MORE was the first person in the investigation to be sentenced earlier this year, and former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George PapadopoulosGeorge Demetrios Papadopoulos10 declassified Russia collusion revelations that could rock Washington this fall Flynn, Papadopoulos to speak at event preparing 'social media warriors' for 'digital civil war' Judge dismisses DNC lawsuit against Trump campaign, Russia over election interference MORE was sentenced in September. 

Flynn on Tuesday took a U.S. district court judge up on an offer to postpone his sentencing for lying to FBI agents about his contacts with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak while serving as President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch To ward off recession, Trump should keep his mouth and smartphone shut Trump: 'Who is our bigger enemy,' Fed chief or Chinese leader? MORE's top national security adviser.

"This Flynn thing yesterday was interesting because someone who was about to be sentenced, who we thought was done with his cooperation now is getting sentenced later on out in time," Williams said Wednesday.

"Now [Jerome] Corsi and [Roger] Stone, for instance, haven't either pled or entered agreements or been tried or whatever, so maybe they're still out there," he added. "But for the most part, we're probably closer to the end than we are to the beginning." 

— Julia Manchester