President Trump tweeted Sunday his reaction to special counsel Robert Muller’s indictments of 13 Russians for direct interference in the 2016 United States elections. He said, “Case closed”. That’s about the first thing Trump has said about the Russian scandal that comes close to the truth. The difference of course is what case Trump was referring to.
After calling the pro Trump/Anti Clinton Russian involvement in the US presidential campaign a ‘hoax’, ‘fake news’ stories, ‘democratic propaganda’, Trump’s ”case closed”, will go down in history alongside Trump’s “largest crowd in the history of inaugurations” as incontrovertible evidence that Trump is at a minimum delusional, or, by the time Mueller wraps up his investigation Trump will be no more than an un-indictable criminal liar.
The fresh indictments answer the charge Mueller was given to determine whether the Russians we’re in fact involved in an organized fashion in an effort to alter the US presidential election. Looking at the scope of the emails and the number of US citizens that were involved in the Russian rallies alone one could make a case that enough votes were changed in Wisconsin and Michigan to alter the outcome of the election. I do not believe for a second that the people who went to these rallies thought they were organized by the Russian government.
Nonetheless the rallies that were held, in many cases, were quite large and their message was strong enough to penetrate the national and local media news cycles. Case in point, a person dressed as a convict to resemble Hillary Clinton was shackled and put into a handmade jail cell. That’s a pretty good storyline for any political reporter veteran or otherwise. Some could argue that enough voters minds were changed to put Trump in the White House… probably not. But it doesn’t matter now. What it has made Donald Trump is an inconsequential president at the earliest period of his term in office of any President in history.
Let’s keep in mind it is only mid-February and Mueller has lots of evidence as yet unplowed. He has put more pressure with new indictments on Paul Manafort, a man I know well, who will say and do whatever is necessary to stay out of jail. Others, like Mike Flynn, have already turned state’s evidence. The ‘usually talkative’ on background, Steve Bannon, was forced to claim “executive privilege” by refusing to answer congressional inquiries. Other suspects lawyer’s or deep in conversation with the government about cutting a deal to stay out of prison.
Trump’s “case closed” was referring to Russian attempts to alter the outcome of the election. Give me a bipartisan panel of political experts (real ones) and a few million dollars and I’ll bet we could make the case that Russian interference may well have changed the outcome in Wisconsin and Michigan. But that’s not necessary now. The big question is, whether there was collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign to alter the outcome of only one voter?
That is the field Mueller is plowing now. It centers on the meeting in Trump Tower between Trump’s son, Donald Jr., Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and campaign manager Paul Manafort among others with a group of Russians who’ve reported to have political dirt on Hillary Clinton. Someone must have realized the potential time-bomb that meeting represented and brought the President into the message strategy behind the meeting.
Trump was overseas and apparently the transition team in New York found it necessary to get his input on the spin behind the meeting. So, Mueller has a group of people in New York, a group of people on Air Force One, including the President, exchanging ideas about what to say. The result? Some lame excuse about the meeting being limited to Russian adoptions. No Republicans that I know of have gone on the record buying that excuse. We all know, and most importantly Mueller knows, that the meeting was about potential dirt on Hillary Clinton. That is clearly interference in the US election process and grossly illegal. So, the only question left for Mr. Mueller to answer, is what did Pres. Trump know about the meeting in New York and what was his role?
With so many rats yet to jump ship, but ready to do so with the right deal, it seems to me the odds that President Trump believed the meeting was about Russian adoption policies is equivalent to the millions who showed up on the mall to see his inauguration. Or the three million or so illegal voters who supported Clinton. Or the largest TV viewership in history to watch a Presidential State of the Union. Time to place your bets.