If Trump has taught me anything, it is to fear my tendency toward pronouncing absolutes; “No way will Trump win the Republican nomination.” And, “No way will Trump beat Hillary.” To say nothing of, “No way does this man last one year as president.” All down the drain, I have learned my lesson.
Or have I?
There is no way that Trump is going to allow Mueller and Rosenstein to simply pick their way through the financial evidence that Cohen possesses, tee’ing up Trump like a 3-Wood fade on a dog-leg right, with Trump “firing” Mueller/Rosenstein, or attempting to fire Mueller/Rosenstein.
Tonight, NBC reports that Trump refused to rule out firing the two of them. Of course he did, because he absolutely will fire them.
I might point out, I’m on safer ground with this particular absolute because technically, Trump has already twice ordered Mueller fired, once stopped only by the White House Counsel overruling the president (how does that work?) stating he’d quit before he “fired” Mueller, and once just this last December when Trump became convinced that Mueller had crossed a “red-line” in looking into Trump’s personal finances, only to be convinced by Mueller’s team that Trump “misunderstood” what it was that Mueller had investigated, that they were not looking at his personal finances. (Yes, they almost assuredly were, and are, they just played Jedi-Presidential-Mind-Tricks to convince the president that he didn’t understand, which likely was true, too).
Nevertheless, Trump will not allow some “law” get in the way of imposing his will upon the situation. At some point, likely in the very near future, Trump will get wind of some of the evidence that Mueller has obtained, through his own investigation and the Cohen matter, evidence concerning Trump’s “personal finances” and Trump will declare it a “red-line” and attempt to fire Rosenstein and Mueller.
Trump will likely not get away with it. Reason being, there is no justification for a “red line” between Trump’s “personal finances” and anything. Being the discerning readers you are, you’ve surely noted that Trump has made “being president” all about his “personal finances,” refusing to divest himself of his companies as president, negotiating deals for himself from the Oval Office, even speculation regarding Trump making foreign policy decisions in the Middle East contingent upon “personal deals” being approved. Trump may be the only person in the world who can be president of the United States, and think that “real estate mogul” is the “ultimate” job that overrides every other concern. No question, Trump mixes his “personal finances” with the job of being president, and thus no red line exists in Mueller’s world.
Moreover, clearly, the “real evidence” with respect to Russian issues lies in Trump’s personal finances. I recall reading of Trump’s involvement with the Russian mob at least 5 years ago, minimum. The Russian mob had a problem, too much cash and not enough legal channels to put that cash to use. Enter Trump, purveyor of “over-priced” assets the world over. “Over-priced” is actually a good thing when one is engaged in financial alchemy, turning dirty-rotten, illegal money into clean, usable, respected money. That is how Trump can take a Florida property valued at $45 million dollars, and sell it to a Russian mobster at $90 million.
“Whoa!” You think, “What a windfall for Trump.” Except, funny thing about mobsters who are laundering money, they know the real value of that property, too. They know they overpaid for it, and they definitely still think of that $45 million in “over-payment” as “their money” even if it is in Trump’s name alone, free and clear. Trump also knows that the mobsters think of this as “their money” (Trump will take a smaller portion), this is the way international money-laundering works. True, the Russian oligarch has no legal means to get his $45 million back, he can’t sue and say “but Trump knew I was simply using this to launder my money, he knew it was not HIS money.” So, the deal comes with some legal risk to the mobster. Generally speaking, the mobster “evens-up” the “risk” quotient by …oh, …say, being willing to kill the person if he acts in “bad faith” (to use a business term), or “release a tape of you watching two prostitutes pee on a bed slept on by Barrack and Michelle Obama” if you do not do as they say. Or, if the mobster knows you are now president of the United States, the mobster can simply threaten to tell people about your deal.
The point of this meandering essay is to demonstrate that the “personal finances” are the obvious key to the Russian collusion. Because, in all likelihood, the type of “financing” done by Trump with Russians was of the type that no meeting regarding “collusion” ever needed to take place, it was all understood without a word needing to be said. When you have enough illegal financial deals with Russians, and hear word that Russians want you to run for president, there is only one “safe” way to act, lest those illegal deals be released for all the world to see. You act in whatever means you believe best for your Russian benefactor.
It means you kiss Putin’s ass at all costs. It means you never enforce sanctions. It means you can honestly say “no meetings ever took place,” and that “no agreements were ever discussed.” It also means that no one can look through your personal finances, it is a red-line. Because the personal finances tell the whole story, tell why everyone knew the entire deal from the beginning, no phone calls necessary. The Russians laundered their money through Trump personally. Trump took his permitted cut. And, Trump knows he can never, ever, cross the Russians, he knew that at least five years ago.Which is precisely why the Russians thought that Trump would make a perfect president, and set about to make it happen.
It will all come out through the personal finances, but Trump will fire Rosenstein and Mueller in an attempt to stop it, but by that point, it will likely be too late. Too much will be known, because even a moron like me understands this dynamic.
** A very astute and loyal reader of this blog will note that I have always said that “collusion” will be found at the interchange of Cambridge Analytica, Jared Kushner, Russian Intel, Facebook, and Mike Flynn, and that is absolutely true and does not conflict with the above. With respect to Cambridge, I am speaking of what Russian intelligence did on behalf of, and in cahoots with, the Trump campaign. But that does not mean Donald Trump would know of those plans, indeed even the Trump people were likely sophisticated enough to keep Trump out of such “details,” leaving them up to soldiers like Kushner and Flynn.
Russia knew at least two years ago, at least by the time that Russia named Manafort head of Trump’s campaign, that Russia would take serious steps toward making Trump president. (Who else would install Manafort as campaign chair? A prominent American political consultant who has worked for the Russian government for a decade suddenly finds himself appointed head of the Trump campaign? That appointment came about upon orders from Manafort’s boss, Putin.) Russia knew that Trump could not cross them, ever. At that point, it became incumbent upon Russia to do all it could to get Trump elected. In THAT respect, “collusion” occurred between the campaign and Russia with respect to Cambridge, but “collusion with respect to Trump” will be proven through his personal finances.
***Oh, snap, one last reason to know that Trump will fire Mueller. Congressional Republicans refuse to close the door on the possibility, despite all those very serious people, very seriously saying they don’t believe Trump would ever do such a thing – again, since he tried twice – and thus such a law isn’t necessary, they know damn well that Trump may be forced to attempt to fire Rosenstein and Mueller and that is why they won’t pass a simple law preventing such an action.