Special Counsel Robert Mueller screwed Donald Trump pretty badly by announcing the indictment of the Russian government spies who hacked the election, just before he departed for a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. In fact the only way Mueller could have screwed Trump any worse would have been if he arrested one of the key go-betweens for the Kremlin and the Trump campaign while the summit was going on – so that’s more or less what he did.
To be clear, Mueller’s team isn’t handling the prosecution of Russian political operative Maria Butina. But considering the circumstances, it’s clear that Mueller greenlit this move by the Feds – and the timing of it – or it wouldn’t have happened. Trump and Putin ostensibly spent the private portion of their summit discussing how to deal with perceptual fallout from the indictments of the Russian government hackers. That’s a big enough mess, even though none of them will ever stand trial, and none of them will ever end up testifying against bigger fish.
But Trump and Putin missed the opportunity to discuss how to deal with the arrest of Butina, a key witness against everyone involved if she cuts a plea deal. Seemingly as if to twist the knife even further, the Feds arrested her on Sunday, but kept it a secret until after Trump and Putin had their private meeting on Monday.
Donald Trump comes home severely weakened, after having stood next to Vladimir Putin while blaming America for Russia’s election meddling. Even most of Trump’s political allies have been forced to speak out against him on this, whether they wanted to or not. And for all his trouble, Trump is coming home with Trump-Russia scandal marching orders from Putin that are already obsolete. That’s before Robert Mueller unleashes his next curveball – and these days he’s uncorking them with increasing regularity.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report