Just a few weeks ago, when Donald Trump was swinging and comically missing with the Nunes memo stunt, some among the Resistance were overtaken with a nearly toxic level of pessimism and fear. That’s understandable in this environment. But at the time it was 100% clear that Trump’s memo stunt had failed, and that he therefore would not be able to get away with firing the people running the Trump-Russia investigation before the hammers began dropping. Fast forward to now, and the hammers are dropping in abundance.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller has now filed somewhere in the neighborhood of one hundred different criminal charges against nineteen people and obtained five guilty pleas, including Trump’s campaign vice chairman and Trump’s former White House National Security Adviser. The majority of this activity has taken place in the past week or so. If you’re surprised by some of the specific moves that Mueller is making, we all are. But if you’re surprised that things are now so thoroughly in motion, you should’t be. Trump tipped off that this was coming when he tried his memo stunt.
The memo was a last ditch effort to try to create public outrage against Deputy Attorney Rod Rosenstein for supposed FISA warrant abuses, so that Trump would have political cover to fire Rosenstein, which would then allow him to go after Mueller. But the microsecond that the memo failed to achieve its goal, that was all out the window. Trump was never going to release the memo and then just magically fire Rosenstein that night and get away with it. Nothing ever works that way in politics. No one has a magic wand. Ever.
So why am I bothering to rehash this now? Because it’ll happen again. The memo, as idiotic as it may have been, was probably the best idea that Donald Trump had left up his sleeve. But it’s not his only idea. He’ll try even more desperate low-percentage plays in the increasingly feeble hope of trying to somehow stop the inevitable. Cable news may even shift back to trying to scare you into believing that Trump is somehow going to magically survive this. But as we saw last time around, that’s simply not how any of this works. Even Trump is susceptible to the laws of politics. He took his best swing and failed. Now he’s getting hit with the avalanche that he was trying to prevent.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report