We’re reaching the home stretch in Robert Mueller’s investigation of Donald Trump’s Russia scandal, at least when it comes to the obstruction of justice angle, and everyone involved knows it. Now is the time that negotiations are underway, deals are being cut, and cooperating witnesses are trendy, as the players in the scandal try to protect themselves before the hammer falls on everyone else. Some of this week’s revelations were inevitable. But even some of Trump’s closest allies, or at least the people he thought were his allies, are now selling him out to Mueller.
It’s not remotely surprising to learn that James Comey and Sally Yates, who were both fired by Donald Trump, have given cooperative interviews to Robert Mueller. It’s not surprising to learn that Rick Gates, who was never going to be able to afford the kind of fancy lawyers needed to beat money laundering charges, is now negotiating a plea deal which could force Paul Manafort to flip on Trump as well.
It’s not even all that surprising to learn that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is cooperating with Mueller; Sessions was always going to take care of himself in the end. Nor is it a shock to learn that Trump’s Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, is cooperating with Mueller. Coats has never seemed comfortable defending Trump during congressional hearings; he was never going to be willing to go down for Trump. But Mike Pompeo? Really?
Trump hand-picked Mike Pompeo as his CIA Director for the same reason Trump picks anyone: he thought Pompeo would be personally loyal to him and use the position to protect him from the Russia scandal at all cost. Instead, Pompeo has also joined the ranks of those who have given voluntary interviews to Robert Mueller (link). We don’t know how much Pompeo gave up. But he knows full well that he’d be criminally charged if he lied or misled Mueller during the interview. So we have to assume he’s now a cooperating witness as well. At this point is there anyone who hasn’t selfishly sold Trump out?
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report