Friday, September 14, 2018

Conservative Columnist - Time for Trump to Panic.

The Washington Post's conservative columnist, Jennifer Rubin, thinks the jig is up for Donald Trump now that Manafort has cut a cooperation deal with special prosecutor Robert Mueller.

That’s the news Trump never wanted to hear. The prospect of just such a deal is why his lawyers reportedly dangled the promise of a pardon in front of Manafort’s lawyers. A plea deal that could put the Russians inside Trump’s campaign blows to smithereens the notion that only low-level, non-players or those distantly related to the campaign had Russian connections. Trump, who was praising Manafort to the heavens just weeks ago, will find it hard (but not impossible) to now smear him as a liar. 
“The relentless Mueller push continues — as does that of the rule of law,” observes former White House ethics counsel Norman Eisen. “The reported cooperation agreement could be devastating to the president — and those around him. Manafort for example could implicate not only the president in the Trump Tower meeting — but also others who were involved such as Don Jr. or [Jared] Kushner. The same is true on the mysterious [RNC] platform change, and indeed on all the possible collusion offenses.” 
The plea certainly explodes Trump’s claim that Mueller is engaged in a “witch hunt.” The only “hoax” here is the pretense that there was nothing out of the ordinary going on inside the Trump campaign or that it was too disorganized to have spent time colluding with Russians.
Trump also loses the argument that Mueller is wasting taxpayer money. As part of the plea deal, Manafort is going to cough up $46 million in forfeited assets, according to news reports. That more than pays for Mueller and his team (who at last glance had spent $20 million). Then again, it all depends how high a price you put on restoration of American democracy. 
Trump was already crashing in the polls and Mueller’s approval rising, in large part due to, in August, the trial and conviction of Manafort and the plea deal with Michael Cohen. The recording of Trump discussing a payoff with Cohen surely didn’t help his credibility. 
What we will find out in the days and weeks ahead is just how much Manafort knows and how much he can tell us about what Trump knew regarding Russian interference on his behalf. For Republicans who have been carrying water for the president, it might be time to put down the buckets and run for their political lives. Frankly, voting for impeachment and removal might be a good option for Republicans at some point. Before we get there, however, there are the midterms, which are shaping up to be a wipeout for the GOP.


Anonymous said...

So, who's next? Uday and Qusay? Fratsputin? Wilbur the Pig? How about the KKKeebler Elf?

Time to celebrate with a beer and some tunes.


Jay Farquharson said...

Stone and Assange

The Mound of Sound said...

Manafort will be obliged to tell Mueller everything that led up to the meeting with the Russians in Trump Tower, what happened at that meeting and afterward. That will include a narrative of the actions of DJT Jr. and Kushner and whether Trump had prior knowledge of it.

I expect he'll have good information of the Bank of Cyprus and its then co-owner and now Trump commerce secretary, Wilbur Mills and the Russians who used the bank as an exchange machine to turn dirty rubles into Euros en route to Deutsche Bank and, from there, into the Manhattan property market, Trump Towers, and Trump's Atlantic City casinos.

The possibilities are endless. Although I've been out of the game for several years, when I toss this around I see nothing but opportunities for investigators and when you top that off with counsel of the calibre of Manifort and Weissman it is awesome.

The Mound of Sound said...

Jay, I think you would enjoy watching that new documentary, "Active Measures." If you can't find someone with a Hulu streaming account, it's available through Apple iTunes.

Jay Farquharson said...

I enjoyed it very much.

the salamander said...

.. we're doomed to hear the endless caterwauling lies of Donald Trump until his very end days.. and without doubt the deflections of his defenders, whether family, enablers, base or GOP scumbags scrambling for their political lives. The bizarro rationalizations may become quite ludicrous.. but then again, the actions of Donald Trump are quite ludicrous. We can wait on Robert Mueller et al to lay it out indisputably & no doubt in a court of law or two.. so Trump et al will then trumpet their lame dispute of legal reality via twitter and Fox tv.... presumably their defense will be stunningly laughable nonsense..

John B. said...

Keep off the skyline and don't rattle the bushes.

The more Trump's supporters have made reference to the high cost of conducting the investigation, the more it should occur to the public that high-level white collar crime and professionalized "fixing" are often left to operate with a degree of anticipated impunity and allowed to become institutionalized, exactly because of those costs and the time it takes to complete the work. I remember hearing a reforming Italian prosecutor or judge speaking years ago of this factor in consideration of the extent to which systems of government and justice in Italy had been overwhelmed by the volume of unchecked criminal activity.

There's probably a lot of this type of crime that's left unaddressed because of the difficulty in sorting through the layers of non-accountability and misdirection that the more prosperous gangsters can buy to obscure their activities. It occurred to me from the onset of this project that some of the investigators working for Mueller, as well as others working elsewhere in that business, would have had prior awareness or strong suspicion of what was likely to be found in this case, as well as in many others that never achieve the visibility to warrant the attention. They just need a case with a sufficiently high profile and the direction and money to collect the details. I'll bet some of them were chomping at the bit. Is that the deep state?

Trump will probably blame NBC, but he should have stayed off that elevator.

Anonymous said...

Maybe, but a bit anticlimactic after bagging Manafort.

I think Mueller's going to turn up the heat on Trump by indicting family next. He'll likely wait until after the midterm election to avoid accusations of inference and use the time to question Manafort.


The Mound of Sound said...

Sal, I hope it unravels with far less chaos than you foresee. I dealt with some pretty fine grifters. You think you know how to deal with them but it's only when you've squared off with a few that it finally sinks in. If you do it right, they will become your instructors. They teach you if you're willing to learn. Until you reach that point of awareness they always have the advantage and play on your silly self-confidence. I learned a lot from some really nasty dudes.

I was threatened. One person I worked with was put in hospital by three guys waiting for him with baseball bats in his office parkade in the early hours of the working day. That guy even called me afterwards and said if I didn't back off I was next. He told me to contact the RCMP to learn what he was capable of. I called a buddy, a criminal lawyer, to go for a beer. At one point I brought up the threat call. It turned out my pal had represented the guy on the attempted murder of this scoundrel's wife. I asked if the guy would really kill me. My buddy said "sure." For whatever reason he didn't. Back in those days I carried a huge, for me, (high seven figures) life insurance policy.

Bit by bit I studied and learned the lessons they taught. It's a bit Zen, sort of like fly fishing in a meditative trance.

The Mound of Sound said...

John B. - Manafort forfeited real estate valued at $46 million today. That's well more than twice the current cost of the Mueller investigation and I expect there'll be a lot more coming into the federal treasury this year and next.

You're right about white collar crime, especially the top tier stuff. Prosecutions in that category have plummeted since Trump took office.

The Mound of Sound said...

Cap - you're absolutely right. The day does warrant a beer and some really great tunes.

To all of you, thanks for your contributions. It helps us geezers keep our minds alive.

Northern PoV said...

It might be a little premature to be popping the champagne corks....

"If Mueller indicts Trump, that is a constitutional crisis. If Mueller hands over irrefutable evidence of criminal wrongdoing to the Department of Justice, that is a constitutional crisis. If he hands the dossier over to Congress, that is a constitutional crisis. This plane does not have a soft landing, folks. Fasten your seatbelts."

Juan Cole, Informed Comment

deb said...

thanks for sharing those details Mound, it makes so much sense to me that sociopaths that run mob organizations, are exactly the same type that run corporations that control politicians.
I imagine the threat of baseball bats or bullets keep quite a few politicians in line.
trump is so out of his league with such managers, and really he is the perfect puppet. A huge ego and an endless need for more money.I wonder where he will live after all this drama ends in 2 years.

I imagine the blackmail threats work just as well as a baseball bat for many of the players

The Mound of Sound said...

NPoV - there's near zero chance that this won't turn ugly. A collapse in Republican support in the mid-terms could change that but, as so many have said, this is now the party of Trump.

Lulymay said...

I know this is off-topic, Mound, but...talking about grifters, so here in BC we've got Ken Dobell investigating Coleman's activities re casinos and money laundering??? Yikes!

Northern PoV said...

This headline gave me some comfort ...

"It's Not Just the President* Who Ought to Be Sweating Today
Don't forget Paul Manafort got Mike Pence the VP job."

but I don't think the article actually supports the headline.
As long as Pence (or someone of his ilk) can step up, removing Trump could backfire big time.

John's Aghast said...

Can tRump issue a pardon for himself BEFORE all this comes crashing down?

Jay Farquharson said...

Stone and Assange squares the circle on one aspect of Russian collusion with the campaign, bringing Stone, Assange, Wikileaks, the Russian GRU all into the same active measures group.

After Stone and Assange comes the Mercers, Bannaon, Pascale, tying the Campaign to Russian active measures via Facebook, Twitter and other social media ratfucking.

Jay Farquharson said...

The new book coming out notes that when the IC started investigating the Russian hacks and Ratfucking, they found and identified over 300 Russian assets and agents in Agent Orange's campaign, the ReThug Party, the NRA, and a bunch of ReThug PAC's and Think Tanks.

Judge Kennedy's son as an example.

Not gonna be much of a ReThug Party when Meuller's done.

Jay Farquharson said...