After teasing on Saturday that there was one more surprise witness testifying to the Manhattan grand jury that’s indicting Donald Trump, the media confirmed on Sunday that the witness is alleged former Trump pardon-dangler Robert Costello. Trump reportedly requested that Costello be allowed to testify to the grand jury, in the hope of discrediting Michael Cohen. I’ve already spelled out why this is a dumb idea for Trump, coming from a place of desperation. Now Trump is giving something away about it.
Trump posted this on Sunday evening about Costello’s testimony: “THE INFORMATION HE WILL PRESENT WILL SUPPOSEDLY BE CONCLUSIVE AND IRREFUTABLE!” You’ve probably already identified the problem here. In spite of Trump’s use of all caps to try to convince everyone how certain he is, his use of the word “supposedly” undercuts the entire thing.
In other words, Trump is more or less admitting to what I wrote earlier, which is that the Costello testimony is a desperation crapshoot, and that Trump is only trying it because he can’t not try something. Trump use of “supposedly” suggests that someone in his remaining inner circle gave him the hard sell on the idea that Costello’s testimony will somehow be a magic wand for killing the entire indictment in its tracks. For all we know that person could be Rudy Giuliani, given that he is (or was) Costello’s client.
In any case, Donald Trump is giving away that even he doesn’t have a lot of faith in this Costello testimony gambit. It’s just that when you’re as cornered as Trump is, you run out of good options, and you’re stuck choosing among bad options. Trump’s desire to convince himself that he still has some control over what’s happening to him has led him to make this particular bad choice, when doing nothing probably would have been a less-bad choice. But Trump is famous for tepidly waiting way too long to do anything, only to then try a desperation heave once he realizes it’s already too late to matter.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report