Robert Mueller was already holding most of the cards when the week began. He had a formal confession from Trump adviser George Papadopoulos, which was going to allow him to take down several upper level Trump advisers, who were eventually going to have to cut deals of their own. One of them, Sam Clovis, was already cooperating as a result. He already had Paul Manafort rotting under house arrest, sending everyone else in Trump’s orbit into a panic. Mueller was already going to win this game. Then he got dealt four aces.
In hindsight, Robert Mueller arrested Manafort and his sidekick Gates, while simultaneously revealing the lenient deal he’d handed Papadopoulos, in order to force the rest of the Trump-Russia players to come to grips with their limited options. Would they rather sit in a cell and await trial, or cooperate and get to move on with their lives? It was a matter of time before someone else decided to do the smart thing and cut deal. But would it be another little fish like Papadopoulos, or would Mueller get lucky and land someone a bit higher up the chain?
Instead, Mueller managed to land arguably the most valuable fish in the entire Trump-Russia sea. Michael Flynn has close enough ties to Russia to know about virtually all of the other communications that Russia had with the Trump regime. Flynn served in the campaign and in the Trump White House. Whether or not he has evidence directly proving Donald Trump’s guilt, he surely has evidence to take down the handful of fish who are even bigger than he is – and that’ll force them to cut their own deals.
Robert Mueller has been playing his hand perfectly all along, complete with a poker face that no one involved has been able to read. He skillfully set the stage such that one of the bigger players would end up panicking and cutting a deal. Now, by skill and by luck, he’s holding the perfect hand. Flynn’s cooperation means that he can, and will, go all-in against the entire Trump regime.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report