Donald Trump should have taken a hint a year and a half ago when Jeff Sessions found himself facing potential legal trouble in the Trump-Russia scandal, and promptly recused himself in order to protect himself, even though it meant he would not longer be in a position to help Trump. Instead Trump merely cursed his luck, and decided to put his chips down on the personal loyalty he thought he had from the rest of his underlings. That was a mistake – and Trump is just now learning that the hard way.
This week we saw Trump’s fixer Michael Cohen, Trump’s National Enquirer pal David Pecker, and Trump’s longtime bookkeeper Allen Weisselberg all cut deals against him. Although these are startling developments, particularly for their rapid succession, none of this is particularly surprising. If these guys were all cutthroat enough to screw other people on Trump’s behalf, it logically follows that when push came to shove, they were willing to screw Trump in the hope of saving themselves.
By all accounts, Donald Trump is shocked by all this personal betrayal, even though the rest of us all saw this kind of thing coming. Granted, Trump’s malignant narcissism causes him to think people are his devoted worshippers simply if they say nice things about him. But there may be another reason why Trump doesn’t understand that when the Feds come calling, there is no honor among thieves.
Donald Trump has spent his entire adult life running one financial con after another, but because he’s operated in the notoriously corrupt real estate industry, and because prosecutors often hesitate to launch white collar investigations into shady billionaires without an overwhelming reason, Trump has never faced criminal jeopardy until now. That means his underlings have never been in a position where they had to sell him out or go to prison. Trump has no experience at what he’s trying to fend off, and he’s learning the hard way that he can’t simply count on his criminal sidekicks taking the fall for him.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report