When Donald Trump lost the election five weeks ago, Palmer Report predicted that everything he would do during his lame duck period would be an attempt at softening the blow when it comes to his prison and bankruptcy he’s facing when he gets out of office. Sure enough, that pattern has held.
The pattern has been obvious enough. Trump’s ongoing narrative about contesting the election has been all about raising money from his gullible supporters so he can pocket it, and use it to pay for his legal fees once he’s out of office. He’s also focused heavily on endgame pardons for himself and his people. Now Trump is talking about appointing a new Special Counsel to investigate Hunter Biden on his way out the door.
On the surface this feels like spiteful self destruction on Trump’s part. Why would he waste what little time and political muscle he has left on merely sticking it to the Biden family? But upon further examination it starts to look like an attempt at saving Trump’s own kids.
The news out of New York this past week suggests that the Manhattan DA grand jury could end up criminally indicting not just Trump, but also one or more of his kids. This comes even as the New York Attorney General’s parallel civil probe has recently forced two of Trump’s kids to testify.
In other words, things are about to get very, very ugly for Trump’s kids. If and when indictments come down against them in the coming weeks, Donald Trump – who still thinks this is all a reality show and can be won or lost in the media – probably wants to be able to argue that his kids are only being targeted because Joe Biden’s kid is under investigation.
Nothing works this way in the legal system, of course. If Donald Trump’s kids are provably guilty of something, New York will convict them, no matter what arguments he might make on Twitter. Similarly, unless Hunter Biden has committed an actual crime, he’s not going to prison just because a Special Counsel is investigating him instead of a regular U.S. Attorney.
So this is likely all about optics. Speaking of optics, it’s worth considering that whenever Trump leaks that he’s going to do something like this, he rarely ends up doing it. If he thought he could get away with it, he’d just do it, and use the element of surprise in his favor. When Trump starts leaking to the media that he might do something, it’s usually his way of trying to look strong on something that he knows he can’t pull off. So we’ll see, but there’s a good chance this Special Counsel thing won’t happen.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report