Donald Trump has spent all of 2017 somehow surviving his Russia scandal and his various other crimes – for now. Four of his advisers have been arrested, two of them have already pleaded guilty and cut plea deals, and more arrests are on the way. Meanwhile his Republican allies are trying to run interference for him, his attorneys are acting clueless, and Trump himself simply is clueless. So what’s in store for Trump in 2018? Let’s ask one of the guys who broke Watergate.
Carl Bernsten appeared on CNN and cut straight to the most salient part of the story: Trump desperately wants to skip to the part where he tries to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller and tries to pardon everyone. The trouble, of course, is that Trump would have a difficult time firing Mueller under the law, and an even more difficult time getting pardons of his alleged co-conspirators to stick.
Instead such maneuvers by Trump would be likely to backfire by turning his most tepid supporters against him, driving his approval rating even lower. This would place even more pressure on the Republican Congress to oust him before the 2018 congressional elections, for fear of getting wiped out. And so, as Bernstein alluded to, Trump’s lawyers are trying to protect him by telling him there’s a chance that he might somehow be exonerated in the investigation (link). This is of course a ridiculous premise.
Robert Mueller only has one goal: to get to the truth about Donald Trump’s own role in the Russia scandal. Every arrest he’s made, every plea deal he’s handed out, every move he’s made or will make, is all in the name of getting to Trump. Michael Flynn only got the deal he got because he had evidence to give up against Trump, or against another big fish who can take Trump down. Everyone knows it but Trump. It’s why he’s screwed in 2018.
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Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report