Every so often the question gets asked again: “How much longer can this last?” “This” of course being the brazenly corrupt reign of Donald Trump and his beyond-the-pale collection of cartoonish grifters. (Eg: EPA boss Scott Pruitt, Interior czar Ryan Zinke, Commerce con man Wilbur Ross, the already departed HHS Secretary Tom Price and on and on and on and on ad nauseam.)
Even the most cynical and despairing among us have, buried deep in our numbness from so much unchecked self-dealing, fraud and incompetence, a belief that “this” can’t survive. It’s just too flagrant, too clumsy and too shameless to avoid a day of reckoning.
Since last fall I’ve pegged late spring-to-early summer of this year as the likely point where the [bleep] really hits the wall. The point where only the most delusional far right bubble creatures refuse to accept incontrovertible evidence that our Commander-in-Chief is not merely a fool, but a criminal one as well, and very likely a treasonous one to boot.
(Read this from James Risen at the Intercept, titled, “Is Donald Trump a Traitor?” Sample:
“Most pundits in Washington now recoil at any suggestion that the Trump-Russia story is really about treason. They all want to say it’s about something else – what, they aren’t quite sure. They are afraid to use serious words. They are in the business of breaking down the Trump-Russia narrative into a long series of bite-sized, incremental stories in which the gravity of the overall case often gets lost. They seem to think that treason is too much of a conversation-stopper, that it interrupts the flow of cable television and Twitter. God forbid you might upset the right wing! (And the left wing, for that matter.)
“But if a presidential candidate or his lieutenants secretly work with a foreign government that is a longtime adversary of the United States to manipulate and then win a presidential election, that is almost a textbook definition of treason.”
Friday’s indictment of a baker’s dozen of Rooskies (and one lone American wanker roped in to help the Russians pay off Tea Party-style patriots) clearly has Trump ricocheting off his gilded walls. It is almost certainly a Phase One indictment, setting the stage for Phase Two: charges against Americans who wittingly or unwittingly (through their existing criminal endeavors) made the Russian attack on last year’s election possible. Next up, (my guess), are the American data operations who “weaponized” the Russians’ social media strategy into the swing states where 78,000 votes turned the electoral college in Trump’s favor.
Could this mean Cambridge Analytica, where son-in-law Jared Kushner crossed paths with Robert and Rebekah Mercer? All available signs point to it.
If Kushner never gets his White House security clearance, it will be, I believe, because his connections to Cambridge Analytica have compounded his debt his issues with Deutsche Bank, his sweetheart dealing with the Chinese and of course that fateful meet and greet with the Russians at Trump Tower.
A Kushner indictment would be the signal that we have arrived at a one-step-from-the-abyss moment for Trump … and us.
After Kushner, the only target left is Trump himself, who at the point will be completely exposed by everything Mueller has collected from plea deals with Michael Flynn, Rick Gates, George Papadopoulos and Paul Manafort, too, I’m guessing. (At this point even Manafort, the sleaziest of lifelong DC swamp creatures, has to realize that all he can do now is mitigate his eventual prison sentence. There is no other choice, other than making a run for it.)
I make this late spring-early summer prediction in part because of what I and others have said from the get-go. This cascading fiasco has been called “stupid Watergate” for a reason. There doesn’t appear to be anything all that sophisticated or original about Trump’s 30-year money laundering scheme with international gangsters. There just isn’t a lot of brain power and criminal craft on display here. Even Trump’s “fixer” attorney, the mobbed-up Michael Cohen, is more thug than legal strategist.
I’m inclined to believe Mueller’s (far smarter) team has seen this sort of thing many times before, but until this episode may never have had quite the incentive or resources to mount a full-scale investigation of so farcical character as Trump.
Moreover, there’s the not-insignificant fact that Trump inspires no loyalty among his “team”, other than among maybe his immediate children, Cohen, and, of course, the sad, angry chumps who use him as the prism for their rage against “the winners” of the world. Everybody else around Trump has only good reasons to give him up and quite literally no reason at all to protect him. There’s no one like Bob Haldeman or John Erhlichman here. Who thinks Reince Preibus, John Kelly or any other institutional actor is going to court perjury and jail time to protect an ungrateful fool like Trump? I mean, people! can you imagine what Steve Bannon alone said last week in 20 hours of testimony to Mueller’s crew?
So … assuming Mueller is doing what credible analysts believe he is doing, namely, steadily building up pressure through a series of strategically sequenced indictments on everyone who hasn’t flipped to come in now, I think by late May or early July we’ll be into a fresh kind of hell with Trump.
And that hell will be a form of civil war between the most ardent (i.e. angriest, deepest in the bubble) Trumpists egged on by their favorite for-profit rage inducers and the rest of us. They will be told their election is being stolen from them by “the deep state” and the liberal media and they will believe it, because that’s all they’ll have left to believe in. Any other option requires them to admit they’ve been played for chumps … yet again.
The anger and solidarity of that crowd; a large, reliable and therefore absolutely vital percentage of the Republican voting bloc will mean Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and the rest of the so-called party “leadership” (ironic since they’re actually the ones being led) will remain locked in their implicit defense of Trump, no matter what Mueller chooses to disclose.
At that point, I don’t see how the 4K HD Director’s Cut version of the infamous Ritz-Carlton Moscow “pee tape” will change any minds. Hell, Trump’s evangelicals will most likely look on that as a kind of born again baptism.