18 March 2018

Will Trump Fire Mueller? A Second Take

I pondered this question last December and my answer was that it was rather likely.

A month later, we found out that Trump had indeed tried to fire Mueller six months earlier but the White House Counsel Donald McGahn blocked his directive.

Now, I am more convinced that he will fire Mueller in the next few weeks.

How do you know that, you may ask.

First, Trump knows that Mueller has turned several witnesses and they are all going to implicate him, his family members and his inner circle.

He also knows that his dealings with Russian oligarchs and criminal groups were, well, charitably put, not above board. Refusing to release your tax returns might cheer up your base as sticking it to the Man, to use the 60s lingo, but it would not deter someone like Mueller.

But Trump would be worried mostly about his kids getting in the crosshairs of Robert Mueller.

And this is happening right now.

Mueller Investigation and Ivanka and Don Jr.

Robert Mueller has just subpoenaed Trump Organization's documents in their dealings with Russian business interests.

This week, congressional investigators claimed that the Trump Organization was negotiating a deal with a Russian bank during the 2016 election campaign.
Democratic congressional investigators this week claimed in a memo that they had learned that the Trump Organization was “actively negotiating” a deal in Moscow during the election campaign that involved a Russian bank that was under US sanctions. The deal never went through and it is not clear which bank the congressional investigators were referring to. 
When you say Trump Organization, you mean Ivanka, Don Jr and Eric. So the kids are being targeted now.

And this is not the first time.

There is also the Trump SoHo deal, which involved Tevfik Arif and Felix Sater and their real estate group Bayrock.

These two were born in the Soviet Union and have extensive commercial and shady connections in Russia including various criminal enterprises.

I mentioned them many times and you can read more about them and their involvement with the Trump Organization here and here.

Basically, as it was subsequently alleged, the Trump SoHo project was a Russian money laundering scheme whereby they sold overpriced real estate to unsuspecting investors who eventually lost their shirt.

That deal was investigated in 2012 by the Manhattan District Attorney's office and according to ProPublica and the New York Times, having found a smoking gun in Ivanka and Donald Jr's emails about their intent to defraud investors, the prosecutors were ready to indict the siblings.
In one email, according to four people who have seen it, the Trumps discussed how to coordinate false information they had given to prospective buyers. In another, according to a person who read the emails, they worried that a reporter might be onto them. In yet another, Donald Jr. spoke reassuringly to a broker who was concerned about the false statements, saying that nobody would ever find out, because only people on the email chain or in the Trump Organization knew about the deception, according to a person who saw the email.
Then, Trump lawyer Marc Kasowitz made a surprise visit to Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr after which he instructed his prosecutors to shut down the investigation.

In case you are wondering, Kasowitz donated $25,000 to Vance's re-election campaign becoming one of his biggest donors. Vance returned the money when this strange coincidence was revealed. Undeterred, Kasowitz subsequently organized a fundraiser that netted Vance $50,000.

But, of course, there was no quid pro quo, as we all know that happens only in sub-Saharan Africa and some other, hmmm, what is the term, oh yes, shithole countries.

But not in the good old USA.

Where lawyers pay $130,000 to porn stars from their own pocket, just because...

Where prosecutors always go after the rich and powerful people like Cy Vance going after Harvey Weinstein.

In any event, not only is Mueller looking into this again but he is doing it in collaboration with New York's Attorney General Eric Schneiderman who hates Trump with a passion.

This is relevant since it puts Ivanka and Don Jr beyond their father's ability to pardon, which is limited to federal cases and Schneiderman's involvement makes it state level.

So stopping Mueller is now very important for Trump.

He thinks, firing Mueller might just stop the whole thing.

Does he have cover to do it?

Wel, the GOP has just arranged for it.

The End of House Probe on Russia Collusion

The House Intelligence Committee just ended its investigation on whether or not Trump Campaign colluded with Russia to influence electoral results.

Their report said there was nothing serious there. Nothing at all. A few mistakes here and there, but no Benghazi.
The House Republicans also said that a 150-page report they prepared — without consulting their Democratic colleagues — contradicts the U.S. intelligence community's firm conclusion that the goal of the Russian government effort was to boost Trump's campaign. 
See, it was all a witch hunt and Trump has always maintained that.

True, there is also an ongoing Senate probe but since that chamber is also controlled by the GOP don't expect a much different result. The GOP has a tight control over all their congresspeople. The carrot is money and stick is a Tea Party primary challenger.

If John McCain didn't have a brain tumor and sudden concerns about his legacy, he might have voted for Trump despite the Orange Man's previous comments about him not being a hero.

Why is that relevant?

When Trump fires Mueller, his GOP defenders will go on Sunday talk shows and say that the Mueller investigation was a waste of taxpayers' money since Congress already exonerated the President.

Those will be the same people who provided tens of millions dollars to Kenneth Starr's Whitewater inquiry and investigated Benghazi countless times.

But no corporate media personality will ever point that out.

So what is next for Trump?

Getting Ready to Fire Sessions

There are several reports that Trump is getting ready to fire his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions.
[S]ources said Trump has discussed a plan to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions. According to two Republicans in regular contact with the White House, there have been talks that Trump could replace Sessions with E.P.A. Administrator Scott Pruitt, who would not be recused from overseeing the Russia probe. Also, as an agency head and former state attorney general, Pruitt would presumably have a good shot at passing a Senate confirmation hearing.
Now, I have to admit that this one would be a clever move because Pruitt might limit the Mueller investigation so much that there might not be any need to fire him.

Under that scenario, Trump gets exonerated without firing Mueller because Mueller couldn't talk about stuff he uncovered.

Not bad at all.

Hence, I believe firing the garden gnome might be the most likely next move.

Trump has been testing the waters with the firing of Rex Tillerson and Andrew McCabe (two days before his full pension retirement) to see what kind of push back he would get.

We now know the answer is, not much. And this, despite trolling him for moths about preventing him from getting his full pension.

Reportedly, the next person he is planning to fire is his National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster.

That should provide the litmus test.

It will be interesting to see how getting rid of his Secretary of State and National Security Advisor weeks before his planned meeting with Kim Jong-un would be handled by the Washington Establishment, the corporate media and the GOP.

If nothing happens, as I expect, Trump might decided to fire Mueller too.

What About Intelligence Agencies?

Previously, I suggested that even if Trump fires Mueller, he alienated intelligence agencies so much that they will continue to leak damaging information collected by his probe and more.

They have done that in previous months as every scoop by the Washington Post or the New York Times could be traced back to one of those alphabet agencies.

But Trump made another clever move. He nominated the torturer's torturer "Bloody" Gina Haspel to the head of the CIA.

That pleased everyone because she is one of them and they know her and are confident that she will not damage their interests or betray their secrets.

Would that be enough?

This is what the former CIA Chief John Brennan said today:
Brennan addressed the president earlier on Saturday, writing: “When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history.

“You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America … America will triumph over you.”
So what do you predict, you ask.

My guess is that being impulsive (plus his kids being in the crosshairs) Trump will fire Mueller.

This will cause a constitutional crisis and put  GOP in a bind. But they will stand by him and defend him until the 2018 elections.

If they lose badly, the Orange Man is toast.

And, despite Gina Haspel nomination, the intelligence community will leak damaging stuff like never before.

2018 will be a fun year.


It turns out that the garden gnome Beauregard lied under oath and Mueller knows it.

I am wondering why this is coming to the surface right now.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ testimony that he opposed a proposal for President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign team to meet with Russians has been contradicted by three people who told Reuters they have spoken about the matter to investigators with Special Counsel Robert Mueller or congressional committees.
Someone should congratulate Scott Pruitt right now as he is preparing his presidential bid. I am not kidding.

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