Mueller Squeezes Harder

Class Act: By Robert J. Delahunty, John Yoo Published May 18, 2017 Fox News FILE: Feb. 2, 2012: FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. FILE: Feb. 2, 2012: FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (AP)

Feb. 2, 2012: FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (AP)

It’s increasingly likely that Special Counsel Robert Mueller III has something serious on President Trump. WC isn’t the only one that thinks this. WC knows nothing beyond what he had read in the media and the public documents, but here’s the argument for Mueller having the goods on Trump.

The criminal indictment against the Russians is Mueller’s statement that there was absolutely Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. We’d been told all of the U.S. intelligence agencies agreed there had been interference; now we know, in considerable detail, what it was and how it was done.

Mueller has cut deals with four Trump associates now, gaining guilty pleas under written agreements which means he not only knows what they have to say but that they have evidence supporting proof of a crime or crimes having been committed by Trump or his inner circle.

He already had former campaign chair Paul Manafort in a box; the box got a lot tighter with the new counts under the amended indictment. The outcome of a trial is nearly a foregone conclusion now. Manafort demonstrably had an interest in the dozens of off-shore businesses; he demonstrably failed to file accurate income tax returns. That’s a couple of dozen felonies. The choice for Manafort is pretty stark: make a deal with Mueller to testify or stare at some very serious time. And Manafort, remember, was at a meeting with the Russians set up by Donnie Junior.

There is circumstantial evidence that there was collaboration between the Trump campaign and the Russians; after all, Trump, in a campaign appearance, famously asked the Russians to hack Secretary Clinton’s email server. There were the highly suspicious concessions to the Russian made in the form of favorable changes to the Republican Party platform. There were the meetings between Trump campaign and transition staffers and Putin allies. There is Trump’s refusal to implement sanctions against the Russians despite the overwhelming, bipartisan approval of those sanctions by Congress.

One of the particularly striking overlaps between the Russian interference and Trump’s campaign strategy was the effort to suppress the vote of the African American community. Trump even gloated about it:

The black community “came through big league,” he said then. “If they had any doubt, they didn’t vote. And that was almost as good,” he added.

According to Bloomberg,

Instead of expanding the electorate, [campaign chairman Steve] Bannon and his team are trying to shrink it. “We have three major voter suppression operations under way,” says a senior official. They’re aimed at three groups Clinton needs to win overwhelmingly: idealistic white liberals, young women, and African Americans. … [H]er 1996 suggestion that some African American males are “super predators” is the basis of a below-the-radar effort to discourage infrequent black voters from showing up at the polls — particularly in Florida.

It would be remarkable that the Russians and the Trump campaign independently settled on the same strategy.

And then there’s the obstruction of justice issue. Trump’s clumsy attempts to obstruct, thwart and divert attention from the investigation are legally dubious on two grounds. They aren’t the kind of conduct you’d expect from an innocent man; they smack more of Dick Nixon than Hillary Clinton. And they may constitute obstruction of justice all by themselves. Nixon resigned before he could be impeached, but recall tat the Saturday Night Massacre – Nixon’s firing of Archibald Cox and two Attorney Generals – were the basis from some of the articles of impeachment.

Finally, the Mueller investigation is seen inside the White House as an existential threat to the Trump Administration. We don’t know if it that led directly to the truly incredible staff turnover. But it is almost certainly an indirect factor. When the fecal matter hits the fan, it sprays on everyone nearby.

And Trump is increasingly acting like a desperate, cornered criminal. And it is increasingly like he’s doing so because that’s exactly what he is. And he is increasingly concerned that Mueller can prove it.