Friday, August 04, 2017

Showdown At The Washington Corral

Tony Burman has reached several conclusions about the Trump presidency. The first is that it will come to a bad end. The second is that Trump is in the pocket of the Russian mob. The third is that the end of the Trump presidency will be a existential challenge to American democracy:

We are now getting a much clearer sense of where this high-stakes drama is heading. The details may change but the contours of this epic chapter in American political history are beginning to emerge.

Although it has been another head-spinning week, perhaps the most important disclosure was a Washington Post story (notwithstanding reports that Mueller empanelled a grand jury to probe Russia’s ties to the 2016 campaign). The story suggested how centrally involved Donald Trump has become in the expanding inquiry about his secret connections with Russia.

Trump will do everything he can to stop the Mueller investigation:

Increasingly, it appears that the Mueller investigation will help answer that question by examining the close but largely secret relationship between the Trump empire and Russian financial interests.
According to leaks, it has only been in recent days that Trump has realized that this Mueller probe, if not stopped, may even include an examination of his tax returns that he has been so stubborn to keep secret.

A revealing preview of what Mueller is undoubtedly discovering was featured as the extensive cover story of September’s issue of the U.S. magazine New Republic. Written by investigative journalist Craig Unger, the story was titled: “Married to the Mob: What Trump Owes the Russian Mafia.”

Unger was stark in his conclusions: “Whether Trump knew it or not, Russian mobsters and corrupt oligarchs used his properties not only to launder vast sums of money from extortion, drugs, gambling and racketeering, but even as a base of operations for their criminal activities. In the process, they propped up Trump’s business and enabled him to reinvent his image. Without the Russian mafia, it is fair to say, Donald Trump would not be president of the United States.”

And, as Mueller zeros in on Trump, the Great Orange Id will become increasingly dangerous:

Like a cornered rat, he will fight to protect his interests. In every conceivable way, he will work to stop Mueller’s probe, to challenge Congress if it intervenes, to undermine the press and judiciary if they get in the way and — yes — even to engage in reckless military adventures if he thought that would strengthen his position.

We're heading for a showdown at the Washington Corral. 

Image: Hoaxtead Research


the salamander said...

.. Burman may have written the most succinct appraisal I've seen recently. There's a lot of conjecture out there. Mound has an interesting look at who might be leaking.. in particular the recent classified transcripts of Trump's calls to Mexico and Australia.. though I'm dead certain Mueller can & will go far deeper & broader with surgical legal precision than mere leaks.

In my view, Mike Pence & the GOP strike me as logical but silent secret allies of Mueller. Who profits if Trump can be shoved out the door? Why Pence gets to play president! & the GOP get busy with their agenda to hold the Presidency for another 4 years. These people may be hysterical, but they are insidious & nasty & Trump is now a brutal distracting destructive sideshow who could create a Constitutional crisis.


Lorne said...

it provides a small measure of comfort, Owen, that a Senate bi-partisan effort is underway to make it harder for Trump to fire Mueller as he gets closer to the truth:

The Mound of Sound said...

I'm unaware of a case, much less one of this political magnitude, where so much of the fact-finding investigation was conducted by American and European journalists, some of it going back years. With a leg-up like that, Mueller's team were able to hit the deck running. Much of their work is reduced to verification and many of the main witnesses are identified in the journalists' work.

Trump defines Hubris in action. It's almost impossible to imagine how he believed a presidential run would help him - almost but not quite. It could have made sense, promotionally, if he was convinced he would lose the primary. When he took the Republican nomination he seemed to double down and go for it, perhaps expecting that a suitably imperial presidency could suppress any trouble. Other presidents had done as much. Think back to John Kennedy and the role played by Sam Giancana in his election.

I think if someone offered Trump an immunity deal for himself and his family on condition of his resignation he might find it hard to resist. That, however, may never be on the table.

Owen Gray said...

At some point Republicans will come to understand that not only is Trump obstructing justice, salamander, he's also obstructing their agenda. But they're afraid of riling his -- and their -- base. There are only a couple of courageous Republicans these days.

Owen Gray said...

I read that this morning, Lorne. Some -- still only a few -- Republicans are beginning to develop backbones.

Owen Gray said...

At some point, I wouldn't be surprised to see Trump follow Mike Flynn and try to deal for immunity, Mound. But, as Flynn has discovered, there are few people who would grant his wish.

Ben Burd said...

I'll believe it when I see it. The Trump base are as rabidly anti-repug as the Dems. They will find another "angry leader" and then watch out. Anti-politician fever is not made up it exists and will manifest itself when Trump is forced out.

Owen Gray said...

That's a definite possibility, Ben. Bind rage is centre stage these days.

The Mound of Sound said...

I did a post today on Mueller and federal grand juries. At the very bottom is a link to observations by an American law professor who has been following Mueller's investigations and has no doubt that Trump's reign will be over in 15 to 18-months. Now I know that will be met with guffaws from many lay observers but there's an enormous disparity in understanding between a lay opinion and that of an experienced legal mind versed in the law, the circumstances and procedures.

The best part is the final entry in Seth Abramson's Twitter storm. There's a report that NSA has intercepts of FOX mouthpiece, Sean Hannity, in conversations with Russian intelligence service agents. That information is said to have already been relayed to Mueller.

Owen Gray said...

Hannity having conversations with Russian operatives would cause a firestorm, Mound. That kind of evidence would put one of Trump's chief apologists in a whole new light.