Halloween came a day early for President Donald J. Trump, as the mix of unsealed indictments, arrests and one critically crucial guilty plea portend far more “tricks” than “treats” for the Great Pumpkin in Chief.
Do not allow the deflections by Trump spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders to deceive you–Trump is in hot water and he and everyone with an ounce of common sense realizes it. How so, you ask, with Trump Tweeting early yesterday that his former campaign manager Paul Manafort’s indictment pre-dated their professional relationship. While partially true, the partial untruth is what may ultimately place Trump on a path to impeachment, and that untruth boils down to a name many Americans did not know before yesterday: George Papadapolous.
Who, you ask?
While the major media spent the better part of the day focusing upon the fact that a former campaign manager was indicted for myriad offenses, by day’s end, both traditional and social media were abuzz with the fact that Papadapolous had entered a guilty plea in Federal court–a plea whose allocution shows that he is prepared to testify that campaign manager Manafort wanted to ensure that Donald Trump did not meet with Russian officials who had damaging information about his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
According to court documents, the evidence will show that in March of 2016, Papadapolous drafted and sent an email to both Manafort and then Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski stating that his Russian contacts “wanted to meet with the Trump team.” Manafort then forwarded said email to his business partner and fellow indicted co-conspirator Rick Gates that said,“We need someone to communicate that D.T. is not doing these trips. It should be someone low-level in the campaign so as not to send any signal.”
While it amazes me that men like Manafort and Gates can cull millions of dollars in salary as political operatives and yet be too stupid to realize that whatever you place in an email or text message can and will be used against you in a court of law, I am not surprised because these men, along with their boss, Trump, and other sycophants and minions who do his bidding, are a combustible combination of arrogance and stupidity that reveal what just may be their tragic flaws and their ultimate undoing in Washington.
(Paul Manafort grinning while exiting the Federal courthouse after entering not guilty pleas to multiple offenses)
After nine months in office, many Trump opponents are skeptical that yesterday’s events, dubbed “Mueller Monday” on social media in homage to Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s big reveals, will lead to any meaningful action against Trump. Many fear that Trump will just pardon Manafort et al the same way that he pardoned Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio this past summer.
While Trump certainly holds the option of issuing Federal pardons, Mueller, a Republican who became the second longest-serving FBI Director behind J. Edgar Hoover after being appointed by former President George W. Bush in 2004, has tied Manafort and Gates’s patrician (and tax-free) lifestyle and expenditures to several states, including New York, Florida, California, Virginia and South Carolina. While one can conclude that the pair may be safe in the Trump friendly states of Florida and South Carolina, there remains the strong likelihood that Attorneys General in New York, California and perhaps even Virginia may pursue separate state charges–charges that Trump would not be able to touch by executive fiat.
Trump also faces the specter that should he preemptively pardon any or all of these men, that such could place him into legal jeopardy for thwarting an investigation into matters that could yield probable cause for the requisite “high crimes and misdemeanors” that are necessary for impeachment. Or, should Trump pardon and/or seek to have Prosecutor Mueller replaced, such could cause Congress to get the ball rolling on impeachment. With polls suggesting that Trump’s support is waning among independent voters and #NeverHillary Democrats who supported him and proved the difference in the election, and with polls further suggesting that Trump’s approval rating is down even among non-college educated white males–his rabid base–those facts, coupled with the lack of legislative accomplishments in year one, could allow Republicans who know that Trump has turned the White House into a circus but have yet to speak out for fear of drawing primary opponents to find their balls and voices and declare “enough!” While time will tell on the latter point, for now it is clear that yesterday’s legal horror show spooked “Trumpwise” the Clown enough to keep “Its” Twitter fingers eerily at bay while allowing Its spokesperson, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, to continue telling the lie that the Russian Collusion scandal is #FakeNews.