All these months, all of the frustration, all of the tantalizing clues floating around in the air with nothing to connect them, it looks like that may finally be coming to an end. It’s like the scene in Harry Potter where Tom Riddle waves his wand, and all the jumbled letters on the wall spell out Lord Voldemort. The puzzle is finally starting to look more like a picture, and less like a pile of colored pieces of cardboard.
This is the problem with being a narcissistic You get used to saying what you really feel, and what you want because you, and you alone run the show, and nobody is going to argue with you. But this is not a privately owned real estate company, this is the Presidency, with actual rules that you don’t make, and suddenly you can’t just buy your way out when you break those rules.
The blockbuster reporting last night by the New York Times that Trump actually ordered the White House counsel, Don McGahn to fire Robert Mueller closes the box. The rat that is Trump is now scurrying through a maze constructed by Robert Mueller, only there’s no food pellet at the center of the maze, just a small cage.
Ty Cobb is full of shit. Ty Cobb is not going to decide whether or not Trump will talk to Mueller, nor under what conditions he will talk. Cobb’s hole card is the two of clubs. It’s Mueller who will decide, not if Trump will talk or not, but how Trump will talk, in a conference room, or in front of a grand jury. Trump refusing to talk to a grand jury upon subpoena would be a prima facie case of both obstruction of justice, as well as abuse of power, both articles drafted for the Nixon impeachment. Defending a lawless President is a death trap for the GOP.
Here’s the real problem with being a narcissistic bigmouth. It’s no fun talking to yourself, you need an audience to impress. Look at just two specific events to see how the threads twist together to form a hangman’s noose. When Don McGahn was informed by Sally Yates that Michael Flynn was under investigation and had lied to the FBI, McGahn briefed both Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon in addition to Trump himself. And, according to the NY Times reporting, when Trump told McGahn to call Rosenstein to fire Mueller, McGahn again told both Priebus and Bannon about it. In fact, the reporting states that McGahn didn’t tell Trump directly that he would resign, but did it through an intermediary. In all likelihood this means that either Priebus or Bannon relayed the message.
Problem. Both McGahn and Priebus have already been questioned by Mueller. Think this might have come up? We know that McGahn can’t claim attorney-client privilege with Trump since he represents the office of the Presidency, and not the President himself. We know that Priebus turned over personal notes to Mueller, you think a world class flap over firing the special counsel might be something he would write a memo about? There is even speculation that McGahn himself may be the source for this particular leak in an attempt to make himself look like Mueller’s savior. And sometime in the next six days, Mueller is going to be talking to Bannon, before he schedules his interview with Trump.
Trump is boned sideways. This is what happens when you demand to live your life in the spotlight. If Trump denies in either interview or before the grand jury that he ordered Mueller fired, then he’s contradicting three corroborating witnesses who say he did, and possibly contemporaneous notes that memorialize that decision. Perjury and obstruction of justice in one answer. And if he cops clean to the fact that he did, then the followup question writes itself. “Why did you want to fire the special counsel?” He can’t say “To stop the investigation,” that’s obstruction of justice. So, what does he say? Because he quit my golf club? Because he was mad that I didn’t give him the FBI Director job? Nonsense, there is no indication that Trump told Mueller he wouldn’t hire him the day before in his interview with Trump.There is no exculpatory answer to that question. Nor is there one when Mueller asks him why he fired James Comey. Providing any reason other than the FBI investigation immediately brings the follow up question, “Then why did you tell Lester Holt and the whole world it was because of the Russia investigation.” Game, set, and match.
And remember one thing. Whatever happens in the upcoming Trump interview or grand jury testimony, this is not the end. Mueller is not just investigating obstruction of justice against Trump. He’s also looking at collusion with the Russians, as well as potential money laundering by Trump and his family, including Kushner. And if the stupidity and incompetence of covering up crimes in those investigations is as rampant as it appears to be in this one, then Trump may well win the devils trifecta in the investigation Kentucky Derby. Don’t touch that dial.