In strict legal terms, Special Counsel Robert Mueller is simply trying to get to the truth in Donald Trump’s Russia scandal and bring the guilty parties to justice. In real world terms, bringing Trump to justice means ending his presidency and forcing his ouster from office so he can be properly punished by the justice system. Based on Mueller’s latest moves, Watergate veteran John Dean is now pointing out the path to the end of Trump’s presidency.
Mueller is pursuing several parallel paths for demonstrating Trump’s guilt. One of them involves the plea deal he just cut with former Trump campaign vice chairman Rick Gates, who will now testify about the actions of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Again, in a strict legal sense, this is all about bringing Gates and Manafort to justice. But in back in the real world, Manafort is one of the people who can take Trump down. In fact Dean doesn’t even think Mueller even necessarily needs Manafort’s cooperation at this point.
Here’s how John Dean is summing up the matter on his Twitter account: “Mueller is throwing everything he can against Manafort, including Gates who can nail him. Increasingly it appears Manafort is the link to Russian collusion. If Gates can testify that Manafort was acting with Trump’s blessings, it’s the end of his presidency. That’s substantial.”
Robert Mueller just gave Rick Gates a plea deal which appears to be overly lenient in comparison to the severity of Gates’ crimes. That’s a strong signal that Gates has testimony and evidence that Mueller considers crucial. As for the notion that Donald Trump might try to stop all this by simply pardoning everyone, Dean doesn’t see it that way: “Many of the counts in both the VA and DC indictments have state law counterparts that can be charged in NY and VA, where Trump had no pardon power. Checkmate is coming for Paul Manafort.”
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report