Yesterday, we received the stunning news that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is just a few weeks away from being ready to interview Donald Trump about his role in the Trump-Russia scandal. This means that, at least with regard to the obstruction of justice aspect of the investigation, Mueller is near the finish line. It also means Mueller has backed Trump into a no-win corner with no viable options.
All indications from Trump’s camp are that he’s now willing to sit down with Mueller for the interview. If he goes through with it, his consistent penchant for pathological lying will instantly do him in, as lying to federal investigators is a felony. If he decides not to go through with it, he would likely have to invoke the Fifth Amendment in the hope of avoiding being forced to testify. This led Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe to lay out that Trump can’t win either way.
Actor and activist John Cusack posed this question for Tribe: “Serious question – Trump is a fascist – why would he sit down with Mueller at all – [I’m] sure he’ll say basically fuck you – hoax – how can he be compelled? If he had any care for the office or future he would comply – but we know he cares about absolutely nothing but himself.” Tribe provided this explanation: “Trump could try to defy a judicially approved grand jury subpoena, but that’s one of the few moves that could really put irresistible political pressure on craven GOP members of Congress to grow a pair and initiate serious impeachment efforts.”
In other words, Donald Trump can’t win either way. If he shows up and testifies for Robert Mueller, he’ll incriminate himself and risk going to prison. If he invokes the Fifth Amendment, it’ll be so politically crippling, his presidency will be over anyway. Trump is in a no-win corner.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report