Like the world’s worst poker player, Donald Trump always gives himself away. Whenever he knows that a bombshell is about to land in one of his scandals, he goes on a specific kind of Twitter bender to try to distract people from it. Whenever he’s telling one of his most egregious lies, he prefaces it with a phrase like “believe me.” Trump has also telegraphed how he feels about a number of former underlings who are now threatening to take him down.
For instance, Donald Trump seems to think that he can bully his former longtime fixer Michael Cohen, who is now threatening to cut a plea deal against him, into backing down. We know this because Trump has posted a few threatening tweets which hinted that he could leak dirt on Cohen’s taxi business. We’ve also seen Trump take shots at others who have turned against him. But this week Trump had remarkably little to say about a certain former underling who has been squarely in the spotlight – and no, we’re not talking about Paul Manafort.
Trump has spent a good deal of time trying to pretend that he has nothing to do with Manafort, who ran his campaign for several months. But Manafort, who is on trial right now, isn’t the one doing the damage. It’s former Trump campaign deputy chairman Rick Gates who took the witness stand the past two days and revealed that the uppermost levels of the Trump campaign were in fact nothing more than a crime syndicate. So why the heck isn’t Trump attacking Gates, or distancing himself from Gates, or saying anything about Gates?
Well, that’s Donald Trump’s biggest tell. After having watched Rick Gates destroy Paul Manafort’s life by confessing to their shared crimes, Trump appears to understand that Gates can – and will – do the same to him by revealing the campaign’s Russia crimes. In a week in which Gates is at the center of Trump’s scandals, Trump can’t even bring himself to so much as publicly mention Gates’ name.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report