We’ve seen these kinds of signs before. One shift after another takes place that doesn’t make sense on its own, and the pieces don’t quite fit together, but you can tell they’re related. Major players in and around Donald Trump’s Russia scandal are making minor moves, subtle adjustments, which add up to one undeniable conclusion: something is afoot. Let’s take a look at these pieces and see if we can try to make something of them.
First we had Mike Pence signaling to the media yet again this week that he’s willing to speak to Special Counsel Robert Mueller about his role in the Trump-Russia scandal, while simultaneously turning down a request to speak to even the most Trump-friendly of the committees running similar investigations. Then Trey Gowdy abruptly resigned from the House Ethics Committee, a position that he recently used to give the all-clear to Devin Nunes; both of these Republican Congressmen are now implicated in the Trump-Russia scandal.
Now we’ve got Donald Trump going deeper into the well of garbage tweets and retweets than he has in quite some time. Why did he retweet an obscure political writer twice in the same night? Why was one of the two articles a fake news piece about Hillary Clinton from October of 2016? Why did Steve Bannon hire the same Russia scandal attorney being used by former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and current White House Counsel Don McGahn? Why did this news coincide with the news that McGahn is on the verge of resigning?
If you’re looking for Donald Trump to go down, the best case interpretation of the above events is this: Mike Pence and Steve Bannon both want to cut plea deals with Robert Mueller so they don’t have to go to prison, which would probably lead to Pence’s resignation. Trey Gowdy quit the Ethics Committee because Mueller has told him to stop using the role to obstruct justice. McGahn is quitting because he’s flipping, like Priebus already has.
Again, these are the best case interpretations. There are plenty of other ways to put these pieces together. Here’s the worst case interpretation: Mike Pence wants to warn Mueller that the investigation had better not look into him. Gowdy resigned from the committee because he had already gotten Nunes off the hook. Steve Bannon is only throwing himself into the Trump-Russia scandal to try to regain relevance, and not because he has the goods to take Trump down. Maybe Trump is only tweeting garbage because he ate a stale Big Mac.
But really, the upshot is this: this many suspicious and vaguely related transactional moves don’t all happen in this kind of rapid succession by mere happenstance. These people are making moves to position themselves ahead of what they’ve been led to believe is going to happen next. Something is afoot. We’ll just need a few more clues to surface before we can begin to fit these various pieces together in a way that makes more sense.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report