Saturday, December 8, 2018

Mueller Is Moving In for the Kill


Contrary to what many - myself included - have been speculating, Robert Mueller, far from winding down his investigation, appears to be ramping it up. The court filings against Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort paint a picture of a campaign that was deeply imbedded with the Russians and was doing everything possible to cover their tracks. And for the first time, Donald Trump, aka Individual 1, has been identified by the Southern District of New York as the one who directed Cohen to make hush payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal in violation of campaign finance law.

Let me repeat that: the Southern District of New York, an arm of the Justice Department, is accusing the President of the United States of committing a crime. When you combine that with the recent revelation that Trump was negotiating the building of a tower in Moscow while he was then a candidate and the meeting his son and son-in-law had with Russian officials at Trump Tower to get dirt on Hillary Clinton, it's clear that Mueller is building a case for collusion and obstruction of justice, and his target is Trump.

If this were a Hitchcock movie, we'd be at the part where Janet Leigh turns on the water in the shower. At the rate this investigation is going, I would be surprised if more indictments aren't handed down before Christmas. If I were Donald Jr. or Jared Kushner, I'd pack a toothbrush and a change of underwear now. Want to know why Trump has been more unhinged than usual in his tweets this week? It's because he knows what's coming and where this will ultimately wind up. Mueller undoubtedly has his tax returns, so he knows where his money comes from. Flynn and Cohen have dotted the i's and crossed the t's, and Manafort, by discussing his plea deal with Trump's lawyers, has provided the noose that will ultimately end up around this president's neck.

And here's the best part of all. For those who were worried that Matthew Whitaker would end this investigation, Mueller appears to have preempted such a move through these filings with the courts. This is now clearly in the hands of the judiciary. Even if Trump ordered Whitaker to pull the plug, the filings would still be in place; the redacted portions have been fully disclosed to each presiding judge, and only those judges can dismiss any grand juries that might still be impanelled. Indeed, the case in the Southern District of New York would go on with or without Mueller. Whitaker would have to fire all the attorneys in the case, one of whom was a Trump appointee. And both Manafort and Cohen, in the event of a presidential pardon, could still be prosecuted for crimes committed at the state level.

Long story short, there is no way Donald Trump is going to stop this train from arriving at its destination. He knows that, his attorneys know that, and most of all, Robert Mueller knows that. With each passing day he gets closer and closer to his objective. While it is true that, per DOJ rules, Trump may never be indicted for his crimes, at least not while in office, the report that Mueller's team is in the process of writing will paint a damning picture of a corrupt business man who thought he could piss all over the Constitution on his way to becoming president.

I'm more optimistic now than I was a month ago that the truth is eventually going to come out. Sadly, 40 percent of the country will not believe Mueller's report, and a vast majority of both House and Senate Republicans will take no action regarding it; just the opposite, in fact. Trump's surrogates have been actively engaged in crafting an alternative narrative in an attempt to smear Mueller and neuter his findings. But in the end I believe the wheels of justice will have their way with Trump and his whole crime family.

And Robert Mueller knows how to deal with crime families. Let's not forget that this is the prosecutor who brought down John Gotti by flipping Sammy the Bull, a man who murdered 19 people, so he knows how to work his way up a food chain.

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