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 Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe 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 ManafortNew normal: A president can freely interfere with investigations without going to jail Kremlin: No evidence of election interference in Mueller report Heavily redacted Mueller report leaves major questions unanswered MORE, former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former longtime Trump lawyer Michael Cohen.

London-based lawyer Alex van der Zwaan was the first person in the investigation to be sentenced earlier this year, and former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George PapadopoulosGeorge Demetrios PapadopoulosGeorge Papadopoulos urges Barr to investigate examples of 'spying' while he was campaign aide Ten post-Mueller questions that could turn the tables on Russia collusion investigators Rand Paul blocks resolution calling for release of Mueller report 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 TrumpGrassroots America shows the people support Donald Trump Trump speaks to rebel Libyan general attacking Tripoli Dem lawmaker: Mueller report shows 'substantial body of evidence' on obstruction 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