There’s often a moment late in a football game when the clock is still ticking and it’s not technically over, but something transpires which means that the outcome is no longer in doubt. Sometimes that moment is obvious; sometimes you have to watch closely for it. When it comes to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s long and winding takedown of Donald Trump, if you’ve been waiting for that moment, it just arrived.
Trump ordered his own White House Counsel to fire Mueller all the way back in June of last year, according to a New York Times report tonight. That attempt obviously failed. Mueller has known about this for quite some time, because White House Counsel Don McGahn was interviewed by Mueller back in early December. For that matter, then-White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus surely would have known about this incident as well, and he was interviewed by Mueller back in October. Why is this so uniquely important?
This eliminates any potential legal defense that Trump might even try from there. If he tries to argue that he was too naive to realize he was committing obstruction of justice when he fired FBI Director James Comey, that now goes out the window. That firing prompted a national discussion about obstruction of justice, which Trump would have heard plenty about. Trump, armed with this knowledge, then tried to fire Mueller just a few weeks later. He can’t argue that he was too naive to know he was breaking the law by trying to fire people who were investigating him.
Moreover, this story demonstrates once and for all that Donald Trump has consciousness of guilt when it comes to his Russia scandal. That applies in a court of law, and it applies in the court of public opinion. Trump is hosed. This is the moment. It’s all downhill for him from here. Remarkably, Robert Mueller is going to end up taking Trump down for trying to fire Robert Mueller. If that’s not a fittingly surreal end to this saga, I don’t know what is.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report