I’m not even going to attempt to write coherent passages and analysis here. Friday was a random thoughts kind of day.
Trump attorney Michael Cohen -- guilty and cooperating.
Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort -- guilty and cooperating.
Trump CFO Allen Weisselberg -- gets immunity and is cooperating.
Trump friend David Pecker -- gets immunity and is cooperating.
And Sarah Huckabee Sanders tells us this isn’t about Trump.
These above aren’t just major names for the prosecution – these are among the closest people to Trump that exist in the world, outside of his family. These include people who said they’d take a bullet for Trump, people who said they would never flip on Trump. And they all flipped on Trump. So, with this, with the anonymous New York Times op-ed, with Bob Woodward’s book, Trump is most likely spinning in angst-ridden, dervish circles knowing he can’t trust anyone.
Paul Manafort was the one person Trump singled out for being brave and not flipping.
Previously, I couldn’t imagine how much Robert Mueller knows. Now I feel pretty sure he knows almost everything – it’s just not known how deep and wide “everything” goes.
Manafort flipping is not only massive, it may be the whole ball game. Consider –
He has to testify honestly about anything the Special Counsel's team asks. Anything. And he was in the Trump Tower meeting with Don Jr. and Jared Kusher. He knows what was said at the meeting, before the meeting, and after.
Manafort knows if Trump ever discussed pardons with him, and perhaps even if Trump told him he discussed pardons with others.
It was Manafort who personally hand-picked Mike Pence to be Vice President, and Pence oversaw the Trump transition which gave security clearance to Mike Flynn...who had to resign after just two weeks in office. So, Pence is at risk.
I wonder if Republican officials have already started putting together names of possible VP candidates who would be acceptable to Democrats and QUICKLY approved if Trump leaves office and Pence becomes president but is himself investigated for impeachment, so that if Democrats take control of the house, the Democratic Speaker of the House doesn’t become president.
Manafort likely knows if Russian oligarch money was paid to any Republican members of Congress. So, THEY are at risk, as well.
He likely knows about Russian money paid to the NRA for them to launder.
He pleaded guilty to the ten charges that had a hung-jury at his previous trial, when one member didn't think he was guilty and wouldn't vote to convict.
Though Manafort only pleaded guilty to two charges yesterday – those two charges included all the other charges, put together in one indictment.
With Manafort pleading guilty and flipping – on top of Michael Cohen, and all the others cooperating -- it’s hard to imagine anyone on the White House staff thinking it makes sense to not tell the Special Counsel everything they know.
John Dean sent out the following tweet today -- “Manafort has flipped! BOOM (the sound of broomsticks breaking the sound barrier crashing to earth - NO witches). The entire Trump family now in jeopardy. No pardon for Paul from Trump. No nice things to say about Manafort by Rudy. Nightmares at the White House will be unending.”
“The entire Trump family” being in jeopardy. The heart breaks.
At this point, a lot of legal experts are saying it’s getting too late for pardons for some people, but especially Paul Manafort. Even Alan Dershowitz said today it’s too late to pardon Manafort. And besides, legal experts are saying that Manafort has already been testifying to the prosecutors to show what he can give them for the plea deal. And he’s not only required to testify under the plea deal, but a pardon removes 5th Amendment protections and requires him to testify for that, as well.
A year ago, I wrote that anyone who is counting on Trump pardoning them likely knows Trump better than most, and in the end they more than most people know they can’t rely on him for that. They know that the only thing they can rely on with Trump is that he’ll act in what’s his own best interest. And if that means pardoning someone could hurt him in some way, he won’t pardon them. And that includes his children. I think there are many reasons Manafort pled guilty and flipped. But one of those reasons is probably that he knew he couldn’t count on Trump for a pardon.
To be clear, this isn't just about impeachment. All of this -- not just what he pleaded guilty to but every different levels it touches -- is about federal crimes along with state crimes committed by not only Trump but also his family going back decades, which raises the risk involving prison time for everyone. It's not that that is likely -- there are still so many hurdles to get to that -- but it's seriously on the table now, I believe. And I suspect The Trump Family Gang suspect the risk, too.
You know it’s a horrific day for Trump when there’s a monster hurricane with massive disastrous flooding and five deaths with more devastation to come -- and it’s not the main story.
And I don’t think the Mueller investigation is close to wrapping up.
I look forward to next week’s approval ratings. And the weeks after. As we’ve discussed, this can’t get better for Trump – not just because there is mountains of guilty evidence pilled on him from years as what is probably a crime family, but there is no one competent at the White House left who can help him with his problems.
One fine day, indeed.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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