The walls are closing in on the “Goodfella” occupying the Oval Office, whether he likes it or not.
In July of last year, Trump told the Times that, if Mueller started looking into his finances in ways that didn’t relate to Russia, he would regard it as a violation of the special counsel’s mandate.
In general, Criminals aren’t given the option by law enforcement to select which of their crimes will be prosecuted. When, as in Trump’s case, the probably criminal conduct is multi-layered and intertwined with his responsibilities to (don’t laugh, please) “uphold the Constitution,” there’s little room for such fine parsing. While the specific nature of Trump’s crimes may matter to some Republicans who’ve made the highly dubious choice to hitch their political star to his fortunes, jail cells don’t care whether you’re a murderer, a money launderer, or a seditious traitor with the Russians. You will do your time, regardless, as the New Yorker’s John Cassidy points out:
At this point, dismissing Mueller wouldn’t end the investigations encircling the President anyway. Monday’s raid wasn’t carried out by the special counsel but, rather, by agents working for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. With all the focus on Mueller, and whether Trump will try to fire him, this fact hasn’t received sufficient stress.
Let’s be clear. The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York isn’t really focused on whether Trump himself, his son-in law, or another one of his accursed offspring struck a deal with Vladimir Putin’s associates to swing the 2016 election. And he wouldn’t have been permitted to search the office of an attorney, let alone the personal attorney of a United States President, unless he already had the goods on something probably a lot more serious than paying off a porn star:
“There is no way—no sliver of a chance of a way—that the SDNY”—the Southern District of New York—“went to a magistrate for a search warrant against the lawyer for the President of the United States without much more than probable cause,” Benjamin Wittes, the editor of the Lawfare blog, wrote on Twitter. He went on, “You can thus assume there was A LOT of evidence in that warrant application. You can also assume the magistrate in question reviewed it carefully.”
Desperate Republicans in the Congress who are planning to try scare voters into voting for them by warning of impeachment really ought to think again. If the long, hot summer that awaits us is anything like the past six months, Trump’s oft-repeated protestation that there was “no collusion” between his campaign and the Russians will be beside the point. The crimes the US Attorney for the Southern District is investigating are a little more visceral and familiar to American voters raised on The Godfather and The Untouchables.
We already know that Republicans don’t care about the bare fact that this President likely sold our country out to the Russians. Absent some smoking gun (which may still surface) that question will always be a subject to be marginalized or buried by right-wing spin and sold to its bend-over-backwards to be credulous base. But an old-fashioned indictment for racketeering or money laundering would be impossible even for the half-wits on Fox and Friends to ignore:
More and more, this is looking like a mobster roll-up of the type that some of Mueller’s team of ace prosecutors previously specialized in. In the beginning, the feds target one or two low-level insiders with legal vulnerabilities, obtain court orders to monitor their activities, and, hopefully, get them to coöperate with the government. Gradually, the investigators work their way up the chain of command to the crew captains—the capos—and, eventually, to the boss of bosses, the capo dei capi.
Al Capone went to Alcatraz for tax evasion. The jail cell didn’t care.