If you were to look at today’s events without any context or logic, you might be tempted to conclude that Special Counsel Robert Mueller did little more than bring symbolic indictments against twelve foreign nationals who will never be brought to trial. That’s why context and logic are so important when it comes to parsing Mueller’s strategy, and why his actions today have already prompted Donald Trump and his people to unravel in real time.
All Mueller had to do was mention that the Russian government hackers passed along stolen emails to someone whose description precisely fits Donald Trump’s longtime pal Roger Stone, and suddenly Stone is running his mouth in revealing fashion. Stone responded to the indictments by insisting that his only point of contact with the Trump campaign was Donald Trump himself. In other words, whether he intended to or not, Stone just gave away that he passed the hacked intel directly from the Russians to Donald Trump. That was just the beginning of Team Trump’s stupidity.
Rod Rosenstein revealed today that he told Donald Trump days ago about the indictments, which just happen to include the revelation that the Russian gave the stolen emails to a 2016 candidate for U.S. Congress. Yesterday Trump tweeted a defense of GOP Congressman Matt Gaetz out of nowhere. Did Trump just give away that Gaetz is the one referenced in the indictments?
Robert Mueller dropped these indictments to establish the criminal nature of what the Russian hackers did during the election, so he can charge their Trump campaign and GOP counterparts with conspiracy to commit those crimes. But Mueller was also clearly hoping that these individuals would panic and start incriminating themselves or each other, thus adding validity to the charges he’s going to bring against them. Based on the first day of fallout, Mueller’s plan is working to a tee.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report