It’s bad enough for Donald Trump that he’s facing Valentine’s Day with his wife visibly wanting nothing to do with him, in the wake of his latest extramarital sex scandal. Now Trump has to worry about a February 14th problem of a different kind. Check the calendar. Special Counsel Robert Mueller set a deadline, and it’s about to expire. We’re about to find out what kind of Valentine’s Day surprise Mueller has up his sleeve.
A few weeks ago, Mueller informed Trump’s attorneys that he wanted to interview Trump about the Russia scandal within the next few weeks. Guess what? Time’s nearly up. Even as Trump prepares to spend Valentine’s Day alone in bed eating Cheetos while watching Fox News, he also has to worry about how Mueller is about to play this. Mueller loves surprises, and he’s had more than half a year to set up his strategy for precisely this moment.
Mueller was appointed as a direct result of Trump’s illegal firing of FBI Director James Comey. So from the start, Mueller knew that he would be pursuing Trump on obstruction of justice charges in addition to the underlying crimes. It’s far quicker and easier to prove obstruction than it is to prove that the big boss was masterminding the crimes that his underlings were committing in the name of rigging the election. So Mueller knew that his big face-off with Trump would be about obstruction charges. He knew from day one that he would eventually arrive in this precise scenario. He’s had that long to gameplan this.
Donald Trump, on the other hand, has likely only recently figured out that he’s going to have to decide whether to sit for an interview with Robert Mueller or plead the Fifth Amendment. His strategy ended up consisting of little more than a controversial memo, which blew up in his face. Whatever Mueller has been secretly planning for the moment Trump tries to say no to the interview, we’re about to find out. Based on the timeline, that moment should arrive right around Valentine’s Day.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report