This past week the media and the public have been understandably preoccupied with the Devin Nunes memo. It’s one of the most controversial documents ever created by a member of Congress, it’s all kinds of illegal, and the hijinks surrounding the document have turned into that of a bad spy novel. But even as some have begun to fear that this memo might somehow magically get Trump off the hook for his crimes, the story playing out behind the scenes has revealed something different entirely.
The legal team for former Trump campaign adviser Rick Gates was shaken up this week in a manner which makes clear he’s cutting a plea deal with Robert Mueller. But if Trump is about to use the Nunes memo to find a way to magically fire Mueller, why is Gates even cutting a deal with him? Why not wait until Mueller is gone, then try to use the resulting chaos to get the charges thrown out entirely? Oh right, because Mueller isn’t going anywhere, and Gates knows it. Okay, but what if this is just an isolated instance of a guy panicking and cutting a deal?
This week Trump’s former legal spokesman Mark Corallo began fully cooperating with Robert Mueller. Why? Corallo witnessed Trump committing obstruction of justice, and he doesn’t want to go to prison for having failed to report it. Corallo, who is enough of a legal expert to understand the lay of the land, doesn’t think Mueller is going anywhere. Michael Flynn cut a plea deal with Mueller last month for the same reason. White House Counsel Don McGahn keeps leaking stories that paint him as the guy who’s been trying to stop Trump from obstructing justice, because McGahn doesn’t want to go down in this.
One by one, Donald Trump’s own current and former people are betting their lives on the expectation that Robert Mueller will survive this and Trump won’t. They’re not holding out hope that the Trump-Russia investigation will be dismantled. They know what happened in this scandal, they know what options Trump does and does not have left, and they’re placing their bets with Mueller and against Trump. That’s because Trump’s own people are certain Trump is going down – which means that he is.
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Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report