So much for Plan Y. Donald Trump has spent the past year-plus burning through one plan after another aimed at fending off his Russia scandal, each more feeble than the last. Trump has tried so many bone headed plans, none of which have helped him, we’ve lost count. Based on the fact that he’s now facing a no-win interview with Robert Mueller, last week he tried what you might call Plan Y. Now his attorneys are acknowledging that it failed as well, and he’s moving on to what will probably go down as Plan Z.
Trump released a memo from Devin Nunes on Friday which he hoped would give him political cover for firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, which might in turn give him the ability to fire or neuter Robert Mueller. Instead the memo ended up being seen as something between a punchline and a criminal act of obstruction. Although he’s still ranting in favor of the memo, his attorneys signaled today that the memo didn’t get him anywhere.
Trump’s legal team announced to the media today that it has no intention of allowing him to be interviewed by Mueller. Welcome to Plan Z. By moving on to this new and essentially final attempt at fending off the Russia scandal, Trump’s team is admitting that the memo did not give him the leverage he needed to fire Rosenstein or Mueller. This latest development was entirely predictable. If Trump testifies to Mueller and lies, that’s a felony. If Trump tells the truth, he’ll be admitting to several existing felonies. But this new plan probably won’t work either.
Past legal precedent strongly suggests that the courts will rule that Donald Trump must testify for Robert Mueller. For all we know, Mueller may have already secretly obtained such a ruling from a judge. That would leave Trump with the only remaining option of invoking the Fifth Amendment, which would be politically fatal for him. In any case, welcome to Trump’s Plan Z. It’ll probably fail just as surely as Trump’s last twenty-five plans failed.
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Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report