Thanks to Donald Trump’s own mouth-foaming lawyer Rudy Giuliani, we learned yesterday that Donald Trump’s deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates knew that Trump was aware of the Russia meeting at Trump Tower before it took place. Gates cut a plea deal in February and told Special Counsel Robert Mueller everything, meaning that Mueller has been hanging onto this information for five months. It’s far from the only Ace that Mueller is holding against Trump. There’s a reason he hasn’t played them yet.
Now we know that the Rick Gates plea deal is an Ace card for Robert Mueller. We’ve already known for a long time, based simply on the kinds of things that Michael Flynn was privy to in Trump’s White House, that his plea deal is another Ace card for Mueller. Given what all he’s managed to keep from the public for long stretches of time, he’s surely sitting on other Aces as well. But if Mueller is holding all the cards, why not just go ahead and play them and be done with it?
If you’ve ever played meaningful poker, you know that the cards you’re dealt are only half the game. You can bluff your way to a win with a lowly pair of twos. You can get dealt four Aces and, if you tip your hand too early, come away with very little to show for it. So it’s not enough for Robert Mueller to simply throw a handful of Aces down on the table tomorrow morning and then demand that Donald Trump voluntarily report to the nearest prison cell. Mueller has to do this in a hand where he and Trump both go all-in.
As Palmer Report has stated from day one of Donald Trump’s illegitimate presidency, by constitutional design, there is nothing more complex and labor intensive than ousting a sitting president – even an obviously guilty one. Robert Mueller has to put together the most comprehensive criminal case of all time. It has to be so overwhelmingly strong that, even if Congress doesn’t impeach and remove Trump for it, Mueller can convince the courts to let him indict Trump directly while he’s still in office. It has to be such a strong case that the majority of Americans end up throwing their support behind Mueller’s boldest of endgame moves.
In other words, Robert Mueller gets one swing at taking Donald Trump down. He’s got to make sure that every last duck is in a row before he steps to the plate, because America cannot afford for him to fail. The worst possible outcome would be that Mueller takes his shot too early, fails, gets booted off the stage, and serves to further embolden Trump’s lawlessness. Mueller has been around long enough to know how these things work. It’s why he’s not only amassing a handful of Ace cards, he’s positioning the game so that his victory over Trump will be game-over.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report